University Social Responsibility and Its Effects on the Promotion of Entrepreneurship and Growth: Small and Medium Enterprises in Chile

University Social Responsibility and Its Effects on the Promotion of Entrepreneurship and Growth: Small and Medium Enterprises in Chile

Alejandro Vega-Muñoz (Autonomous University of Chile, Chile), Claudia Martínez-Villanueva (University of Chile, Chile) and Guido Salazar-Sepúlveda (The Catholic University of the Most Holy Conception of the Virgin Mary, Chile)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5837-8.ch015
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From a descriptive-functional paradigm, this study explores how universities contribute to the promotion of entrepreneurship and the growth of small and medium enterprises in Chile. This fact constitutes the first approximation to the phenomenon of installing a national network of business development centers driven by the Technical Cooperation Service (SERCOTEC, for its acronym in Spanish), a private law corporation and a body dependent on the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism of Chile. The study uses a qualitative methodology of phenomenological order, and it concludes as of diverse experiences about the achievements evidenced by a group of sixteen business owners advised by these centers from different locations of Chile.
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The Chilean University System And University Social Responsibility

It is necessary to point out that the Chilean university system is constituted in a sophisticated way by institutions grouped according to their ownership and access to state funding. So, under the aegis of the Council of Rectors of Chilean Universities (CRUCH, for its acronym in Spanish), there are eighteen state universities that belong to the Consortium of Universities of the State of Chile (CUECH, for its acronym in Spanish), and nine private universities with state contribution grouped in the G9 University Network. Thirteen private universities are members of the Private Universities Corporation (CUP, for its acronym in Spanish) and twenty universities are independent actors1. Although this last set of ten institutions are in a Single Admission System (SUA for its acronym in Spanish) to the Chilean universities of the CRUCH, where also adhere two higher education institutions of the CUP (CUP, 2018; DEMRE, 2018; Ministry of Education of Chile, 2017; Vega, Martinez & Morales, 2017; Martinez & Vega, 2015). Because of the complexity of the system, Muñoz and Blanco (2013) classified the universities into five groups: research universities, elite universities, large universities, accreditation universities and non-elitist universities. These groups even show an internal diversity that expands the types of existing universities, an issue that is enhanced in the last of the mentioned group.

Rothaermel, Agung, and Jiang (2007) point out that in many countries the Universities have contributed as a space for entrepreneurship and innovation. In the USA, for example, universities have increased their entrepreneurial activity in several dimensions such as patents and licenses, creating incubators, science parks, and university spin-outs as well as start-ups. In addition, in the European Union, there are various initiatives and efforts to transfer university technology to industry. However, there is a little record in a specialized study that can contribute to generating lines of action for entrepreneurship and technology transfer between universities and industry.

In Latin America, the concept and use of the USR are still incipient, although its work -especially in public universities- generates public value (Moore, 1995) it is not quantified, documented or evaluated. These are the cases of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, and Universidad de Guadalajara), Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma), Argentina (Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad de la Plata), and Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela)(Herrera, 2008).

The concept of Social Responsibility is a novel concept that appears at the end of the 90s, during the World Economic Forum - Global Compact (Annan, 1999). According to Fernández de Colombo (2010) in the World Conference on Higher Education (UNESCO, 1998) has been recognized the conceptual beginning of the USR. Although the Universities within their ‘raison d'être’ and after the University Reform of the 60s that demanded Democratization, Modernization and Social Commitment (Hunneus, 1972), it has shown constant links of the Universities with their community and the continual concern to keep this in time.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Business Development: To promote and improve SMEs by using consultancies, market research, and financial support.

Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs): Firms with 1 to 199 employees, as well as companies that generate annual revenue between 0.002 and 2,697 million Chilean pesos.

Economic Impact: Positive economic effect formed by the combination of income generated by firms, employment, wages, and taxes.

Promotion of Entrepreneurship: To foster business initiatives to generate employment and economic growth.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Businesses that have from 10 to 199 employees, as well as the companies that generate annual revenue between 65 to 2,697 million Chilean pesos.

Business Growth: The combination of income, employees, and capital to offer products and services increased in the market.

Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs): Firms with 1 to 49 people working in the company, as well as companies with annual revenue from 0.002 to 675 million Chilean pesos.

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