Understanding Incubator Value – A Network Approach to University Incubators
Abstract Networking represents a cornerstone for entrepreneurial action, nurturing relationships that provide access to necessary resources. Previous research shows that such relationships can be fostered as part of incubation processes. However, there is a lack of understanding of the underlying networking process, particularly in settings aimed at promoting them such as Networked Incubators (NIs). Moreover, little is known about entrepreneurs’ expectations when joining a NI, or about entrepreneurs’ satisfaction regarding the fulfilment of those expectations. We address these issues by investigating the features of networking within NIs, and by positing new ways of measuring incubator performance: performance from the entrepreneurs’ perspective. The article focuses on the start-ups located in UPTEC - Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto, a NI. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methodological tools (including content and social network analysis) is used. Findings show how entrepreneurs hold relatively high expectations for the dimensions of Legitimacy/Credibility, Infrastructure, and Networking, and lower expectations regarding the Business Support provided by the incubator. However, the UPTEC network shows low levels of Networking, raising questions regarding effectiveness of NIs. The findings also reveal a number of factors that impact the value and effectiveness of the networking process within a NI.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2014|
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