Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Western Canada: From Family Businesses to Multinationals

Article excerpt

James J. Chrisman, J. Adam, D. Holbrook and Jess H. Chua (eds), Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Western Canada: From Family Businesses to Multinationals (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2002), 366pp. Cloth. $49.95. ISBN 1-5523-8075-0.

The theme of this book is the role of innovation and entrepreneurship as the driving force for economic development. This is a very relevant concern for Western Canada, where the major economic priority is to reduce dependence on resource-based industries. The fifteen chapters are grouped around four headings: innovation systems, entrepreneurship and innovation, entrepreneurial support programmes and family businesses. Innovation and regional development provide the unifying themes.

The first section on innovation has four chapters. The Saskatoon canola industry is used to illustrate an alternative perspective which sets innovation in the context of the global production system. I particularly liked Richard Smith's chapter on 'techmaps' - a method for tracing the relationships between companies in a technology cluster. The other chapters provide an account of Alberta's innovation system and propose a new approach to regional economic development based around co-operative mercantilism.

The entrepreneurship section comprises three chapters, covering Aboriginal entrepreneurship in north-west British Columbia, the role of human resource practices in firm innovation and network support for innovative young firms in Alberta. There are also three chapters on entrepreneurial support, covering a comparison of some international best practice programmes for entrepreneurship education and training, an assessment of the impact of the well-known Enterprise mba at the University of Calgary, and a review of a University of Calgary programme to support medical entrepreneurs through student placements. …


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