Classification and management of incubators: aligning strategic objectives and competitive scope for new business facilitation

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Incubation has recently attracted increased attention as a model of start-up facilitation. Venture capitalists see incubators as a means to diversify risky investment portfolios, and would-be entrepreneurs approach incubators for start-up support. Incubators face the challenge of managing both investment risks and entrepreneurial risks. More than a thousand incubators have been established in the last few years, most of them as regional business incubators. But new types of incubators are emerging. These incubators pursue different strategic objectives, apply different skills and competencies, and serve different markets. As a consequence, they have developed a new understanding of their sources of competitive advantage and business models. Based on 41 interviews with incubation and R&D managers, this paper outlines five incubator archetypes: the university incubator, the independent commercial incubator, the regional business incubator, the company-internal incubator and the virtual incubator. We describe a generic incubator business model, which is refined for different value propositions to customers and other major stakeholders. We conclude that whether an incubator is for profit or not, it should be run as a business. We also summarise some implications for operational and strategic management of incubators, as well as policy and strategy considerations for universities, venture capitalists, municipalities, corporations and other parent institutions of incubators.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
Udgave nummer1-2
Sider (fra-til)176-196
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 1. jan. 2003
Udgivet eksterntJa