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Understanding Incubator Value – A Network Approach to University Incubators


  • Catarina Roseira

    () (FEP-U.Porto)

  • Carla Ramos

    () (Insper - Investigação e Ensino)

  • Francisco Maia

    () (FEP-U.Porto)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Catarina Roseira & Carla Ramos & Francisco Maia, 2014. "Understanding Incubator Value – A Network Approach to University Incubators," FEP Working Papers 532, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:532

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    University Incubators; Networked Incubators; Business Networks; Value; Entrepreneurship; Social Network Analysis.;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other

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