Science & Technology Parks have typically evolved around tertiary educational institutions or other research organizations. Their role has been to:
- Recruit and co-locate new and established knowledge-based companies;
- Promote innovation based on “smart” technologies;
- Provide an interface or shared research environment for research organizations and private industry; and
- Leverage local knowledge resources to enhance a region’s economic base.
The United States and Europe began the trend in the sixties, with East Asia quickly following. In the late nineties, developing countries increasingly started to establish similar parks as a preferred tool for promoting their IT industry. Given that these countries were often constrained by severe infrastructure limitations, it was easier to provide state-of-the-art physical, communication, and social infrastructure within a designated area to enable IT companies to operate.
To assess the keys to successful IT parks, this infoDev study examines the individual components of:
- Capital: Although ownership models may vary, IT parks need to be managed by the private sector to take advantage of its flexibility. Additionally, a reputable anchor tenant, access to financing, and incubation services are keys to successful IT parks.
- Linkages: Close working relationships with academic institutions like universities, colleges, and R&D institutes provide access to ideas and opportunities for collaboration.
- Infrastructure: Weaknesses in roads, urban infrastructure, social amenities, proximity to airports, and connectivity can be detrimental to IT parks.
- People: Linkages will also attract qualified and skilled manpower to use the IT park.
The report also addresses the role of IT sector policies and their impact. Although the level of involvement varies across countries, this study notes the importance of:
- A holistic approach to policy development;
- Efficient institutions;
- Encouraging the private sector;
- Flexible land-use policies;
- Linking incentives with domestic strengths;
- Effective coordination;
- Fostering linkages with other economies; and
- A favorable legal environment.