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7.2.1Stimulating high-growth innovative firms
Towards 2050, Flanders aims to excel as an innovative knowledge society. In 2017, 2,89% of its GDP was invested in Research & Development. With this percentage Flanders far exceeds 1,96%, the average of the 28 European member states (3% nota, 2019). However, the available knowledge and expertise should also lead to innovative output and the upscaling of innovations (Vision 2050). High-growth innovative firms play an important role in this.
Stimulating high-growth innovative firms is a point of concern, according to the RIO Country Report Belgium 2016. High-growth firms are also an important policy issue. Most jobs are created by a limited number of high-growth firms, while employment remains stable for the majority of the firms. High-growth innovative firms are also crucial for vibrant and dynamic economies; they are usually (but not always) young (Figure 1), not necessarily small, not more common in hi-tech industries...
The ambition for the Flemish region must be to generate as much added value as possible, through innovation across all economic and societal domains. High-growth innovative firms and the entrepreneurial ecosystems in which they thrive, play a crucial role. In an entrepreneurial ecosystem, the complex ensemble and the strengths of the interconnections are important, rather than the individual components as such. A global, healthy high-growth entrepreneurial ecosystem with strong links leads to a higher number of fast-growing companies (as the output of the ecosystem). The focus of the advice is both on young (+/- <10 years) and more mature (> 10 years) high-growth innovative firms.
 Dutch speaking northern region in Belgium
 This is the long-term strategy or vision of the Flemish government towards 2050. https://www.vlaanderen.be/vlaamse-regering/visie-2050
 Autio, E. (2016). Entrepreneurship Support in Europe: Trends and Challenges for EU Policy. 10.13140/RG.2.1.1857.1762
OECD (2013). Key findings of the work of the OECD LEED programme on high-growth firms – interim report. OECD publishing, Paris.
 See also Autio, 2016, page 6