Previous studies highlight the role of personal networks as well as of shareholding links with other companies in furthering the set-up and development of small enterprises. Based on these contributions, this paper analyses the ownership structures of Genoa University spin-offs as far as their set-up, development and governance are concerned. In spite of their limited number, these spin-offs were set-up and developed thank to a variety of players including Genoa University’s permanent as well as temporary staff, external professional and corporates. The spin-offs could thus count on a number of competences and experiences able to trigger and support the development of new entrepreneurial ventures. However, a small number of technical and scientific Departments also played a key role in activating favourable contexts, where it was easier to transfer to market the results of academic research as well as to establish and maintain relationships with players with whom to find opportunities and start-up new enterprises. Last, we noted that over time the spin-offs move away from the reference university, the governance becomes more structured, ownership structures become more hierarchical.
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