Title: Specialisation versus diversification: perceived benefits of different business incubation models

Authors: Michael Schwartz; Christoph Hornych

Addresses: Department of Urban Economics, Halle Institute for Economic Research, P.O. Box 11 03 61, 06017 Halle (Saale), Germany. ' Department of Urban Economics, Halle Institute for Economic Research, P.O. Box 11 03 61, 06017 Halle (Saale), Germany; Department of Economics, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Universitätsring 3, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany

Abstract: Business incubator initiatives are a widespread policy instrument for the promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation and the development of new technology-based firms (NTBFs). Recently, there has been an increasing tendency for the more traditional diversified incubators to be superseded by incubators focusing their support elements, processes and selection criteria on firms from one specific sector, and its particular needs. Despite the increasing importance of such specialised incubators in regional innovation strategies, the question of whether they are advantageous has neither been investigated empirically nor discussed theoretically in detail. Drawing on large-scale survey data from 161 firms incubated in either diversified or specialised incubators in Germany, we investigate the benefits to firms of being part of a specialised business incubator as opposed to being part of a generalised business incubator. The investigation of the value-added contribution of specialised incubators, in particular regarding hardware components, business assistance, networking and reputation gains, reveals considerable differences compared to the more diversified incubation model.

Keywords: business incubators; location advantages; agglomeration; specialisation; diversification; local policies; technology policies; perceived benefits; business initiatives; policy instruments; new technology-based firms; NTBFs; traditional incubators; diversified incubators; support elements; business processes; selection criteria; business sectors; specialised incubators; regions; regional strategies; Germany; generalised incubators; value-added contributions; added value; innovation strategies; hardware components; business assistance; networking; networks; reputation gains; entrepreneurship; innovation management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2012.046599

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2012 Vol.15 No.3, pp.177 - 197

Accepted: 28 Apr 2010
Published online: 18 Apr 2012 *

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