How Innovation Parks Contribute to Regional Development vbouronikos November 10, 2022

How Innovation Parks Contribute to Regional Development

An innovation park boosts research and innovation at the local and regional level. It creates the right conditions needed for regional development by strengthening knowledge and transferring it to the fields of entrepreneurship, science and the arts.

In particular, the operation of such innovation parks is of particular interest in remote areas as they offer several advantages with multiplier benefits for society.

The above may sound too theoretical to understand the contribution of innovation parks to regional development. Below we will describe in more detail the innovation parks, their operation and their contribution to the development of the region.

But before we delve deeper into innovation parks, let’s first look at the substance of regional development and a brief history of theterm’s evolutionm.

What is Regional Development?

The term regional development refers to the economic and social development of one or more regions.

Regional development has been the subject of study mainly during the last decades. Of course, when we talk about regional development today, although its meaning has not changed much, the term has evolved with the needs of each era.

Taking a look at the term regional development over the years, we see the different interpretations.

Different Views on Regional Development

The beginning was made in the 1960s with the creation of development models, focusing mainly on infrastructure development. Subsequently, regional development in the oil crisis of the 1970s began to focus more on stimulating employment. In contrast, the 1980s saw the emergence of innovation as an important factor for regional development in the context of an internationalised and competitive economic system. Since then, and with a particular boost during the 1990s, innovation has become an essential component of economic and regional development and remains so to this day.

Education is Closely Linked to Innovation

In a highly competitive economic environment, with technology constantly changing, innovation is a one-way street for businesses. Only through this will they be able to remain competitive and sustainable.

New products and services are constantly entering the market, while competition and consumer demands are constantly increasing. And this is something that governments need to take seriously in developing their regional policy.

Innovation helps the region and its components to develop and adapt to the changes and demands of the new era. Of course, the existence of innovation requires a dynamic education system capable of supporting it, promoting innovation, and cultivating the skills needed.

The existence of an innovation park that does all of the above at a regional level is capable of achieving this goal.

Innovation parks as levers for regional development

An innovation park focusing on knowledge creation and promotion, strengthening innovation at the local level, and education can make a significant contribution to regional development. This is done in the following ways:

Creates New Jobs of High Value Added

The existence of innovation parks in the region is particularly important because they create jobs mainly for university-educated young people and researchers. This provides additional incentives for young people to stay and create in their place of origin, rather than migrating to a large urban centre. This is particularly important for a country like Greece that sees its periphery shrinking year by year.

The periphery, especially rural areas, offers limited job opportunities, reduced access to public services, education, and recreation. An influx of innovation at the local level, combined with digitisation, can turn this around.

Stops the Brain Drain and creates conditions for their return

Boosting domestic research and innovation can stem the “brain drain” of talent abroad. Talents, that is, who have studied in Greek public universities and leave abroad in search of work, since they are often unable to find work, or have no motivation to stay and work in the country.

An innovation space can also create the right conditions for some of them to return to the country. A typical example of this is the investments made by Pfizer in Thessaloniki. It opened hundreds of new jobs for people with a high level of education. In 2021, 17% of these positions were held by people returning from abroad.

Diffuses Innovation at Regional Level

Innovation is an important part of regional development and an innovation park helps in this respect.

Innovation, especially when considered at a global level, is something that is constantly evolving and needs constant monitoring and updating. An innovation park can monitor these developments and help local businesses keep up with developments in their sector. This makes them more competitive and stimulates the local economy.

Boosts Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In addition to researchers, the ecosystem of an innovation park also houses startups. These startups, besides benefiting from their interaction with other members of the ecosystem such as entrepreneurs, researchers, or even students, have access to innovative services that help them develop their business and products.

The JOIST Innovation Park in Larissa, for example, offers private office space at preferential rates for its members, virtual offices and tax offices, as well as spaces for creating innovative solutions.

Educates Executives and Employees of the Future

An innovation park also offers significant opportunities for on-site training, since training is a key part of innovation.

Thus, an innovation park focusing on the new technologies required by the digital transition can create training programmes for business executives, but also prepare students for the jobs of the future.

Through training or even through play, students are exposed to new technologies and skills that are essential for the future such as programming knowledge, 3D printing, and VR design.


The existence of an innovation park in the region is of particular importance for its development. Innovation is perhaps the most important factor for the region’s economy as it creates new jobs, stops the brain drain, diffuses innovation locally, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, and trains the managers and workers of the future.

If you are looking for an innovation space capable of offering all the above, find JOIST Innovation Park in the city of Larissa. It offers workspaces and co-working spaces capable of meeting the needs of startups, businesses, and freelancers, and increasing their productivity.

If you wish to become a member of the JOIST community, please fill in the expression of interest form.

For more information about JOIST Innovation Park and the services it offers, please contact us.