Are Business Incubators helping? The role of BIs in facilitating tenants’ development


Ratinho, Tiago and Harms, Rainer and Groen, Aard (2010) Are Business Incubators helping? The role of BIs in facilitating tenants’ development. In: Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2010 : Dare to Care: Passion and Compassion in Management Practice and Research, 6-8 August 2010, Montreal, Canada.

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Abstract:Business incubators (BI) are among a variety of initiatives to stimulate economic growth by promoting the creation and development of new companies. The rapid growth of BIs in recent years confirms their importance in the economic fabric. In this study, we conceptualize BIs using insights from knowledge based theory of the firm, resource-based view thinking and capabilities literature. BIs will be seen as service providers geared towards helping their tenants in solving developmental problems. The more problems the BI helps to solve the bigger the incubation value for tenants; further, as tenant firms solve problems they develop important capabilities which will yield increase their chances of survival once they graduate. Results show that tenants unequivocally seek support after experiencing problems. Solving those problems is a function of BI support and other external sources part of each tenant firm’s network of contacts. Age and human capital of tenant firms have a negative impact in the total number of the problems solved, suggesting BIs’ deficiencies in helping more experienced and older tenants. Our main contribution is to shed light on the processes of delivering support to young firms within BIs. Importantly, we assess the value of the BIs’ intervention by measuring the amount of developmental problems they help tenants to overcome. Finally, we discuss the implication of our finding to BI managers, prospective tenants and policy makers.
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Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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