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Business Incubators: Effective Infrastructures or Waste of Public Money? Looking for a Theoretical Framework, Guidelines and Criteria

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  • Ernesto Tavoletti

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    Abstract

    There is a wide literature about business incubators (BIs), especially about successful cases in high tech and knowledge intensive industries. Despite that, there is neither a viable integrative theory of effective business incubation nor clear guidelines about the preconditions for establishing BIs and their management. Such theory and guidelines are urgently needed because there is increasing evidence in the literature that, despite many successful cases and public policies supporting business incubation, most of BIs are not successful at all and serious doubts have emerged about the general effectiveness of business incubation and the advisability of investing public money in it. Based on a systematic literature review of the poor and scattered theoretical knowledge of effective business incubation, general principles are proposed to decide when a BI should be established and what it should do to be effective. The research is limited to non-profit BIs whose main goal is regional economic development as they represent the overwhelming majority of operating BIs. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of the Knowledge Economy.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 423-443

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:jknowl:v:4:y:2013:i:4:p:423-443

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    Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/13132

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    Related research

    Keywords: Business incubators; Business incubation; Theoretical contribution; New ventures; Start-ups;

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    1. Riddle, Liesl & Hrivnak, George A. & Nielsen, Tjai M., 2010. "Transnational diaspora entrepreneurship in emerging markets: Bridging institutional divides," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 398-411, December.
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    3. Sean Hackett & David Dilts, 2008. "Inside the black box of business incubation: Study B—scale assessment, model refinement, and incubation outcomes," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 33(5), pages 439-471, October.
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    6. Zelimir William Todorovic & Nichaya Suntornpithug, 2008. "The Multi-Dimensional Nature Of University Incubators: Capability/Resource Emphasis Phases," Journal of Enterprising Culture (JEC), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 16(04), pages 385-410.
    7. Rice, Mark P., 2002. "Co-production of business assistance in business incubators: an exploratory study," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 163-187, March.
    8. Rudy Aernoudt, 2004. "Incubators: Tool for Entrepreneurship?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 127-135, 09.
    9. Huseyin Leblebici & Nina Shah, 2004. "The Birth, Transformation and Regeneration of Business Incubators as New Organisational Forms: Understanding the Interplay between Organisational History and Organisational Theory," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 353-380.
    10. Sean M. Hackett & David M. Dilts, 2004. "A Real Options-Driven Theory of Business Incubation," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 41-54, 01.
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