The paper has a twofold objective: 1) to verify whether the innovation resources offered by the socio-economic context can activate the performance of the university spin-offs operating in the same area; 2) to verify also the degree of success obtained by the university spin-offs able to produce effects on the level of innovation that emerges from the specific socio-economic environment. Starting from the Knowledge Spillover Theory of Entrepreneurship and the analysis of a sample of 405 Italian companies, it emerged that the resources promoting the innovation of the socio-economic context appreciably contribute to the achievement of better performance by the university spin-offs. Nonetheless, environmental influence is not always able to provide significant impetus or produce clearly positive consequences. Moreover, the impact on the socio-economic context of the actions promoting the university spin-offs innovation is only partially real and positive. Anyway, from the standpoint of the evidence gathered, the spin-off companies play a more significant role for an innovative environmental development than the role played by the territorial context in the growth of the spin-offs.
Keywords: Knowledge Spillover, Theory of Entrepreneurship, university spin-off, innovation, performance