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David Parekh speaks with EurActive about creating innovation ecosystems

Silicon Valley is a concept that is hard to replicate, so Europeans should instead strive to build ecosystems for innovation that rely on investment, talent, leadership and risk, high-tech guru David Parekh tells EurActiv.

A mechanical engineer by training, David Parekh is vice president of the US-based United Technologies Research Center, the research and development arm of United Technologies Company. ​He spoke to EurActiv Editor-in-Chief Daniela Vincenti.

Can Europe build an innovation excellence centre like Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is a concept that is hard to replicate, especially in other places, because within 50 miles you have top universities, like Stanford and Berkeley, and start-ups. It is that culture that created the Googles, the Hewlett-Packards of the world. Facebook, which started at Harvard, moved there to Silicon Valley.

I think it’s important for regions that want to boost entrepreneurship to be realistic about what they can do, but surely not give up saying, “Well, we can’t replicate Silicon Valley,” rather think about how to create an ecosystem for innovation.

I think that starts with leadership: being able to articulate why innovation is important. People can easily articulate things about infrastructure or about tourism, sports - Who’s going to win the [Euro] Cup? - but they have a harder time to frame innovation, technology and science.

To read the full interview, please follow the link to Euractive, where this item was originally posted.