A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research
While much attention has been devoted to the description of incubator facilities, less attention has been focused on the incubatees, the innovations they seek to diffuse, and the incubation outcomes that have been achieved. As interest in the incubator-incubation concept continues to grow, new research efforts should focus not only on these under-researched units of analysis, but also on the incubation process itself. JEL Classi? cation: M13, O2, O31, O32, O38 1. Introduction Incubator-incubation research began in earnest in 1984 with the promulgation of the results of Business Incubator Pro? es: A National Survey (Temali and Campbell, 1984).
Underscoring the enthusiasm of early researchers, only three years passed before two literature reviews were generated (i. e. , Campbell and Allen, 1987; Kuratko and LaFollette, 1987). However, since these early efforts to synthesize and analyze the state of incubator-incubation science, and despite the fact that the body of research has grown considerably 1 Vanderbilt University Management of Technology Program Box 1518, Station B, Nashville, TN 37235 USA E-mail: sean. m. [email protected] vanderbilt. du 2 Vanderbilt University Management of Technology Program Box 1518, Station B, Nashville, TN 37235 USA E-mail: david. m. [email protected] edu in the intervening years, a systematic review of the literature remains conspicuously absent.
A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research Essay Example
The primary objectives of this article are to systematically review the incubator-incubation literature and to provide direction for fruitful future research. Ultimately 38 studies were included in our review. We included a study in our review if it viewed the incubator as an enterprise that facilitates the early-stage development of ? ms by providing of? ce space, sharedservices and business assistance. When examining the literature chronologically, ? ve primary research orientations are evident: incubator development studies, incubator con? guration studies, incubatee development studies, incubator-incubation impact studies, and studies that theorize about incubators-incubation. While these orientations are not necessarily orthogonal, we employ them as classi? cations of convenience that we hope will facilitate a discussion of the literature. We have limited the review in several ways.
First, we con? ne our coverage of the literature to studies devoted explicitly to incubators and/or incubation. Although the locus of the incubatorincubation concept is the nexus of forces involving new venture formation and development, new product conceptualization and development, and business assistance (each of which has an established body of research), to expand the scope of the review beyond research explicitly focused on incubators-incubation would make this research project impossible to complete on a timely basis.
Second, although practitioner literature has in? uenced academic research, we center our review on the academic literature, except in cases where the practitioner literature has proven especially in? uential and has some intrinsic academic face validity. Third, with our long-term research interests in mind, we selected literature that conceptualizes incubators-incubation as a strategy Journal of Technology Transfer, 29, 55–82, 2004 # 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Manufactured in The Netherlands. 56 Hackett and Dilts or facilitating new business development rather than as a strategy for developing real estate. While this review is primarily intended for researchers who are considering potential research topics, we also believe that it will be of use to incubation industry stakeholders who are interested in understanding the epistemological evolution of the incubator-incubation concept. Our contribution is a synthesis and analysis of concepts, empirical ? ndings, and problems related to extant incubator-incubation research, as well as an identi? ation of potential areas for future research. In this section, we have noted the need for a systematic review of the literature, provided a working de? nition of the incubator-incubation concept, and delimited the scope of our review.
The remainder of the article is organized in the following manner. First, we describe the methodology we employed in identifying and selecting articles for review. Second, we provide a formal de? nition of the incubator-incubation concept, place incubator-incubation literature in its historical context and review the research along the ? e primary research orientations described above. Third, we identify several challenges within extant research and suggest new avenues for future research. Speci? cally, we note the need for future research to address the lack of convergence in the terms and concepts of discourse related to incubators-incubation, the lack of theoretically meaningful incubator classi? cations, the lack of a business incubation process model, and the longstanding challenges in the de? nition and measurement of incubator-incubatee ‘‘success’’.
We conclude by emphasizing the need to identify and unpack the variables of business incubation with a view toward developing theories that help to explain how and why the incubation process leads to speci? c incubation outcomes. 2. Methodology for identifying articles for review To identify the population of publications for review, we conducted an electronic journal database search of ProQuest-ABI/Inform, Science Direct and UMI Dissertation Abstracts using the search terms ‘‘incubator’’ and ‘‘incubation’’. Our objective was to conduct a census of all published esearch on incubators-incubation written in English between 1984 and early 2002.
After identifying and retrieving all articles archived electronically in the databases identi? ed above, we read the bibliographies of these articles to identify other articles on incubators-incubation published prior to electronic archiving or not archived in the electronic databases, and subsequently retrieved those articles. We reviewed those articles’ bibliographies and found yet more articles dealing with various aspects of incubators-incubation and repeated the process of retrieving articles and reading through the bibliographies.
Reasonably con? dent that all extant articles on incubators-incubation had been identi? ed and retrieved, we then checked all of the retrieved articles against a bibliography created by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) in 2001 that lists all (peer-reviewed, non-peer reviewed and popular press) articles related to incubation in order to ensure to the best of our ability that the entire population of articles on incubators-incubation had been collected.
The articles considered for review appear in the following journals: American Journal of Small Business, Economic Development Quarterly, Economic Development Review, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Harvard Business Review, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Property Management, Journal of Small Business Management, Policy Studies Journal, Public Administration Quarterly, Regional Studies, Research Policy, Technology Management, and Technovation. Ultimately 35 articles (26 empirical studies and nine non-empirical studies), two dissertations and one national survey were included in this literature review (a complete listing of the studies reviewed is included in Appendix A).
The distribution of articles among journals was highly skewed toward journals with an economic development perspective: Six articles appeared in Economic Development Quarterly and another four articles appeared in Economic Development Review. Considering the high number of often-cited publications appearing in these two periodicals, it is clear that the economic development perspective has in? enced the ? eld of published business incubation studies. A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research 57 The complete distribution of research perspectives applied to business incubation studies is detailed in Appendix B. 3. Primary research orientations In this section, we offer a formal de? nition of the incubator-incubation concept. Next we brie? y describe the historical context in the United States in which incubator-incubation research has evolved. Then we review the literature, using the ? ve primary research orientations mentioned above as our organizing principle.
When reporting key ? ndings of each research orientation, we stratify the results based on their relevance to three different units of analysis: community, incubator, or incubatee. Figure 1. Incubator-incubation concept map. graphically depicts the incubator-incubation concept de? ned here. What is the incubator-incubation concept? Based on insights gleaned from reviewing the literature as well as from conducting ? eldwork in Asia and North America, we offer the following de? nition:
A business incubator is a shared of? cespace facility that seeks to provide its incubatees (i. . ‘‘portfolio-’’ or ‘‘client-’’ or ‘‘tenant-companies’’) with a strategic, value-adding intervention system (i. e. business incubation) of monitoring and business assistance. This system controls and links resources with the objective of facilitating the successful new venture development of the incubatees while simultaneously containing the cost of their potential failure. 2 Additionally, we offer the following corollary: When discussing the incubator, it is important to keep in mind the totality of the incubator. Speci? cally, much as a ? rm is not just an of? e building, infrastructure and articles of incorporation, the incubator is not simply a shared-space of? ce facility, infrastructure and mission statement.
Rather, the incubator is also a network of individuals and organizations including the incubator manager and staff, incubator advisory board, incubatee companies and employees, local universities and university community members, industry contacts, and professional services providers such as lawyers, accountants, consultants, marketing specialists, venture capitalists, angel investors, and volunteers. Figure 1 Historical context of ncubator-incubation development in the USA It is generally accepted that the ? rst incubator was established as the Batavia Industrial Center in 1959 at Batavia, New York (Lewis, 2002). A local real estate developer acquired an 850,000 ft2 building left vacant after a large corporation exited the area (Adkins, 2001). Unable to ? nd a tenant capable of leasing the entire facility, the developer opted to sublet subdivided partitions of the building to a variety of tenants, some of whom requested business advice and/or assistance with raising capital (Adkins, 2001).
Thus was the ? rst business incubator born. In the 1960s and 1970s incubation programs diffused slowly, and typically as governmentsponsored responses to the need for urban/Midwestern economic revitalization. Notably, in the 1960s interest in incubators-incubation was piqued by the development of University City Science Center (UCSC), a collaborative effort at rationalizing the process of commercializing basic research outputs (Adkins, 2001). In the 1970s interest in the incubator-incubation concept was further catalyzed through the operation of the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Centers Program, an effort to stimulate and institutionalize best practices in the processes of evaluating and 58 Hackett and Dilts commercializing selected technological inventions (Bowman-Upton et al. , 1989; Scheirer, 1985). In the 1980s and 1990s the rate of incubator diffusion increased signi? cantly when (a) the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in the U. S. Congress in 1980 decreased the uncertainty associated with commercializing the fruits of federally funded basic research, (b) the U.
S. legal system increasingly recognized the importance of innovation and intellectual property rights protection, and (c) pro? t opportunities derived from the commercialization of biomedical research expanded. In this environment several incubator development guides4 as well as non-academic reports and articles5 with a geographic and normative focus on current or potential business incubation efforts were generated. This surge in report-generating activity in the early 1980s and the formation of the NBIA in 1985 underscore the growth in popular interest in business incubation in the 1980s.
Concurrent to these and other local efforts at studying and unleashing the potential of business incubation to foster economic development, academic incubation studies began in earnest. Much of this early research addresses the questions ‘‘What is an Incubator? ’’ and ‘‘What do we need in order to develop an effective incubator? ’’ Business Incubator Pro? les: A National Survey (Temali and Campbell, 1984), a ground-breaking survey of 55 business incubators, is the ? rst academic attempt to address these questions by describing in detail the incubators operating in the United States.
It is comprehensive in scope, taking the incubator, the incubator manager, the incubatees, and the services provided by the incubator as various units of analysis. Although this survey does not test hypotheses or attempt to build theory, its rich descriptive data and insightful perspective established a platform upon which much subsequent incubator development research is based. In the late 1990s, fueled by irrationally exuberant stock valuations of several for-pro? t incubators and/or their incubatees, the media popularized a fantasy of business incubators as innovation hatcheries capable of incubating and taking public ‘‘in? itely scaleable, dot-com ebusiness start-ups’’ less than a year after entering the incubator.
This fantasy and the incubatorincubation concept were largely abandoned and left for dead by the popular press after the collapse of the United States’ stock market bubble. 6 However, rumors of the demise of the incubatorincubation concept are ‘‘greatly exaggerated’’. The media reached its negative conclusions regarding incubators-incubation while ? xated on forpro? t incubators, a relatively small segment of the total incubator population. The vast majority of incubators are non-pro? t entities that continue to incubate below the ‘‘radar screens’’ of most journalists. Since the establishment of the ? rst business incubator, most incubators have been established as publicly funded vehicles for job creation, urban economic revitalization, and the commercialization of university innovations, or as privately funded organizations for the incubation of highpotential new ventures (Campbell and Allen, 1987). The fact that most incubators are publicly funded is not trivial.
Despite normative incubation industry association positions asserting the importance of operating incubators as enterprises that should become self-suf? cient, pro? t-oriented intentionality has not been translated into pro? tability for the majority of publicly funded incubators (Bearse, 1998). Financial dependency forces incubators to operate in a politically charged environment where they must constantly demonstrate the ‘‘success’’ of the incubator and its incubatees in order to justify continued subsidization of incubator operations with public funds.
Such a politically charged environment can tempt incubator-incubation industry stakeholders to underreport incubator-incubation failures and over-report successes. 8 For the researcher interested in understanding, explaining and building models of incubator-incubation phenomena, the politically charged environment and the state of subsidy-dependency in which many non-pro? t incubators operate cannot be ignored. Overview of research orientations We review the literature along the following ? ve primary research orientations: incubator development studies, incubator con? uration studies, incubatee development studies, incubator-incubation impact studies, and studies theorizing about incubators-incubation. These orientations, their A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research Table I Overview of incubator-incubation literature Research streams Incubator development studies Characteristics Research period Main topics 1984–1987 . De? nitions . Taxonomies . Policy prescriptions 59 Incubator con? guration studies 1987–1990 . Conceptual Incubatee development studies 1987–1988 . New venture Incubator-incubation impact studies 1990–1999 . Levels and units of
Studies theorizing about incubatorsincubation 1996–2000 . Explicit and implicit frameworks . Incubatee selection development . Impact of planning analysis . Outcomes and on development measures of success Research question(s) . What is an incubator? . What are the critical . How do we develop success factors for . What is the process of . Do incubators . new venture incubators-incubation? development in an an incubator? . What life cycle model . How does the incubator context? . What is the role of can be extracted from incubator-incubation analysis of business concept work in practice? lanning and the . How do incubators select incubators? business incubator incubatees? manager? achieve what their stakeholders assert they do? . How can business incubation program outcomes be evaluated? .
Have business incubators impacted new venture survival rates, job creation rates, industrial innovation rates? . What are the economic and ? scal impacts of an incubator? . . . use of formal theories (transaction cost economics, network theory, entrepreneurship, economic development through entrepreneurship) What is the signi? ance of relationships and how do they in? uence entrepreneurship? What are the critical connection factors to success, e. g. , settings, networks, founder characteristics, group membership, co-production value, and creation process? ’’ What constitutes a model for a virtual incubator? Is the network the location of the incubation process? key topics, and main research questions are presented in Table I. Incubator development studies The goal of early incubator-incubation researchers was to accurately and/or normatively describe incubators.
Key themes in incubator development studies include efforts at de? ning incubatorsincubation, incubator taxonomies, and policy prescriptions. These themes are addressed below. De? ning incubators-incubation. Most research assumes that incubators are economic development tools for job creation whose basic value proposition is embodied in the shared belief that operating incubators will result in more start- ups with fewer business failures (Fry, 1987; Kuratko and LaFollette, 1987; Lumpkin and Ireland, 1988; Markley and McNamara, 1995; Rice, 1992; Udell, 1990).
Despite the existence of this shared baseline assumption, de? nitional vis-a`-vis the terms ‘‘business ambiguity incubator’’ and ‘‘business incubation’’ plagues the literature. This is problematic because, without precise de? nitions, it is dif? cult to ascertain the actual size of the incubator population to which systematic research efforts seek to generalize their ? ndings. There are several sources of de? nitional ambiguity. First is the diffusion and repeated adaptation of the original business incubator concept in order to ? varying local needs and conditions (Kuratko and LaFollette, 1987).
Second is the interchangeable manner in which the terms ‘‘Research Park,’’ ‘‘Technology Innovation Center,’’ and ‘‘Business 60 Hackett and Dilts Incubator’’ are used in the literature (Swierczek, 1992). 9 Third is the emergence of virtual incubators (also referred to as ‘‘incubators without walls’’) that endeavor to deliver business assistance services to incubatees who are not colocated within the incubator. 10 Fourth is a persistent tendency to not de? ne the incubation process, or—when de? ed—to disagree on where and with whom the incubation process occurs. 11 Cumulatively, if left unaddressed, the abovementioned sources of ambiguity in the terms and concepts of discourse will hinder efforts at generalizing incubator-incubation research results to the incubator population. Early attempts at de? ning incubators-incubation are careful to draw out a distinction between incubators as real estate development efforts, and incubators as systematic business developmentbusiness assistance efforts (Brooks, 1986; Smilor, 1987b; Smilor and Gill, 1986).
Highlighting this distinction in a normative description of incubators-incubation, Brooks (1986) describes a twotype incubator continuum where start-ups enter an ‘‘economic growth incubator’’ in order to gain access to the incubator’s external support network, shared support services, and the resources of a local university af? liated with the incubator (Brooks, 1986). In this view, once the start-ups have attained a more advanced state of business development they can move into a ‘‘real estate incubator’’ which provides of? ce space and shared services.
Brooks’ continuum is adapted and elaborated by Allen and McCluskey (1990). They discard the notion that incubatees would move into a real estate property development incubator after achieving a critical mass, and instead focus on the primary and secondary objectives of four types of incubators that are distributed along a valueadding continuum. From least value-adding to most value-adding, these incubator types include For-Pro? t Property Development Incubators, Non-Pro? t Development Corporation Incubators, Academic Incubators, and For-Pro? Seed Capital Incubators.
The Allen and McCluskey continuum is reproduced in Figure 2. While the goals and objectives of different incubator types may be indicative of the amount and type of resources that a certain type of incubator maintains, the varying goals and objec- tives among types of incubator depicted in the ? gure above may have little to say regarding the objectives of incubatees. Moreover, regardless of the stated goals and objectives of the incubator, ‘‘the universal purpose of an incubator is to increase the chances of a[n incubatee] ? m surviving its formative years’’ (Allen and Rahman, 1985). Similarly, regardless of the incubator stakeholders’ desire—and political need—to demonstrate the ancillary effects of job creation and economic development, the universal goal of incubatees is (or should be) to survive and develop as a corporate ? nancial entity that delivers value to the owner(s)/shareholders. This point is often lost in practitioner debates and in politically charged discussions related to the initiation of incubator feasibility studies.
As understanding of the incubator-incubation concept advanced, the concept that the incubator itself is an enterprise with its own developmental life cycle was embraced. The incubator start-up stage begins at the time a local community begins to consider establishing an incubator and ends once the incubator has reached full occupancy (Allen, 1988). The incubator business development stage is indicated by an increase in the frequency of interaction amongst incubator manager and incubatees, stable demand for space within the incubator, and greater support for the incubator in the local community (Allen, 1988).
The incubator maturity stage re? ects the point when the incubator has more demand for space than it can service and has become a center of entrepreneurial gravity in the community (Allen, 1988). The recognition of the incubator life-cycle is an important advancement. Speci? cally, it highlights the importance of would-be-incubatees performing due diligence on the incubator in order to determine whether the incubator has the core competencies in business assistance and the resources to provide the kind of value demanded by the venture’s management team.
Incubator taxonomies. One of the great challenges of conducting incubator-incubation research is the dif? culty of creating a control group of nonincubated companies whose developmental outcomes could then be compared to incubated companies (Sherman and Chappell, 1998). Ways A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research 61 Figure 2. Allen and McCluskey continuum (Allen and McCluskey, 1990). to overcome this problem include adopting the use of matched pairs or comparing the performance of incubatees to the performance of a virtual incubator’s incubatees (Bearse, 1998).
In the literature, however, taxonomies of convenience are typically employed to create comparison groups. These taxonomies classify incubators on the basis of (a) the incubator’s primary ? nancial sponsorship13 (Kuratko and LaFollette, 1987; Smilor, 1987b; Temali and Campbell, 1984), (b) whether incubatees are spin-offs or start-ups (Plosila and Allen, 1985), (c) the business focus of the incubatees (Plosila and Allen, 1985; Sherman, 1999), and (d) the business focus of the incubator (i. e. property development or business assistance) (Brooks, 1986) (see Table II).
Despite the widespread use of these taxonomies, none of the studies reviewed demonstrated an ability to predict or explain variation in incubation outcomes—presumably the facet of the incubator-incubation phenomenon of greatest interest to researchers—on the basis of these taxonomic classi? cations. Policy prescriptions. A number of incubator policy prescriptions offered in the literature are synthesized and analyzed here. These prescriptions appear multiple times in the literature but are drawn primarily from the following sources: (Allen and Weinberg, 1988; Brooks, 1986; Bruton, 1998; Campbell and
Allen, 1987; Culp, 1996; Plosila and Allen, 1985). First is the need for an advisory board to serve as an incubator ombudsperson. Because the incubator must make dif? cult incubatee selection decisions that require a sophisticated understanding of the market and the process of new venture formation, and because the incubator must rely upon political support from its advisory board in order to secure annual operating subsidies, the importance of a strategically constructed advisory board should not be understated. Second, the rental income risk associated with the temporary tenancy of incubatees must be managed.
Basically, cyclical demands for incubator space are somewhat mediated by the level of development and competencies attained by the 62 Table II Taxonomies of incubators Taxonomy Incubator level: primary ? nancial sponsorship14 . Publicly-sponsored . Nonpro? t-sponsored . University-sponsored . Privately-sponsored Incubator level: business focus Property development 1. Single tenant 2. Multi-tenant . Business assistance 1. Shared space 2. Low rent 3. Business support services .
Hackett and Dilts Representative citation (Kuratko and LaFollette, 1987; Smilor, 1987b; Temali and Campbell, 1984) Brooks, 1986) Incubatee level: business focus . Product development . Manufacturing . Mixed-use Type of incubatee Spin-off . Start-up . (Plosila and Allen, 1985; Sherman, 1999) (Plosila and Allen, 1985) incubator and the current state of the entrepreneurial activities in the local community. With this in mind, pre-screened incubatees should be waiting in the admissions pipeline prior to the departure of current incubatees in order to optimize incubator rental revenue streams. Third, a comprehensive menu of support services must be developed in order to be able to properly incubate the incubatees.
Developing and offering a set of services—even if they are underutilized—may be signi? cant, as the availability of the services may induce self-re? exive consideration on the part of incubatees as to what is required for their new venture to develop. 15 Fourth, the qualitative difference between applicants for admission to the incubator and incubation candidates must inform the incubatee selection process. Speci? cally, because the incubator represents an attempt to help entrepreneurial new or young ? rms overcome some resource gap(s)16 that prevent them from succeeding in their early stages of development, it is important rom an economic rationality perspective to differentiate the types of applicants for admission to a business incubator in the following ways: (a) those that cannot be helped through business incubation, (b) those that should be incubated due to the existence of some resource gap(s) and (c) those that do not need incubation. Ideally, only those ? rms that are ‘‘weak-but-promising’’ (weak due to a lack of resources, but promising in the sense that they have built a compelling business case) should be considered incubation candidates.
Fifth, the degree to which incubators should/ can assist incubatees with ? nancial matters must be considered. Typically, most incubators do not maintain their own investment fund, serving instead as a broker that introduces incubatees to sources of capital when the need arises. Sixth, while incubators are not an economic quick ? x and while they have numerous limitations, they are an important component of a local economic development strategy and can serve a market failure bridging function by enabling entrepreneurship where previously it was too costly or too risky.
Finally, ? exible oversight with dynamic readjustment of incubation programs as dictated by local needs is important for maintaining the vitality and effectiveness of the incubator in a cost-effective manner. Key ? ndings. In sum incubator development studies represent the earliest research conducted on the incubator-incubation phenomenon. These studies are characterized by efforts to de? ne the incubator-incubation concept, to create taxonomic categories for comparison, and to provide policy guidelines for operating an incubator.
While these efforts have several weaknesses that are discussed above, it is important to note that incubator development studies are novel exploratory, conceptual, empirical and normative attempts to render a very young phenomenon. Key ? ndings in the early research on incubators amount to key descriptions that are useful for understanding the scope and nature of incubators. These ? ndings are summarized in Table III. A Systematic Review of Business Incubation Research Table III Key ? ndings from incubator development studies Level Community level .
The incubator provides a protected environment in which new ventures—representing opportunities both for local economic expansion and investment—can develop. . Business incubators should be one element of a larger economic development strategy. . Net job creation through incubation is minimal, but not insigni? cant. Incubator level Incubators can be classi? ed according to the nature of their primary ? nancial sponsor or the business focus of the incubatees. . Low priced rent, shared-services, and the existence of entry/exit policies are key characteristics of incubators. The incubator support network and university ties are key characteristics of incubators. . 63 Representative citation (Allen and Rahman, 1985; Campbell, 1989) (Temali and Campbell, 1984; Plosila and Allen, 1985; Brooks, 1986) Incubatee level Charging the incubatees below market of? ce space rent is important. . Incubatees assist one another, and sometimes purchase from one another. . Comprehensive business consulting services must be available to incubatees. . University technology business incubators have positive environmental effects on incubatees. . (Temali and Campbell, 1984; Allen and Rahman, 1985; Sarfraz A.
Mian, 1994) Incubator con? guration studies Early studies often describe the con? gurations of business incubators, examining the ‘‘design of the . . . [incubator’s] support arrangement, [and] describing facilities, budgets, organizational charts, geographical location, [and] institutional links’’ (Autio and Kloftsen, 1998) with a view to ascertaining the critical success factors of business incubation. 17 The emergence of these studies indicates the evolution of incubator-incubation science from an initial exploratory, fragmented understanding of the phenomenon to an increasingly holistic, systemic perspective.
In order to better understand the development of this systemic view of the incubator-incubation concept, we examine subsets of con? guration research that consider (a) incubator-incubation con? guration frameworks, and (b) the incubatee selection component of the incubator system. Incubator-incubation con? guration frameworks. Several attempts have been made to conceptualize incubator con? gurations and, to a limited extent, the process of incubation. Building on the survey data collected in Temali and Campbell (1984), Campbell et al. (1985) develop a framework offering the ? st explicit linkage of the incubator-incubation concept to the business development process of incubatees (Campbell et al. , 1985).
This framework, reproduced in Figure 3, suggests four areas where incubatorsincubation create value: the diagnosis of business needs, the selection and monitored application of business services, the provision of ? nancing, and the provision of access to the incubator network. Implicitly, with this framework, Campbell et al. have normatively de? ned the incubation process. This is useful because it suggests in detail, and for the ? st time, how different components of, and activities within, the incubator are applied to facilitate the transformation of a business proposal into a viable business. Weaknesses in the framework center on the failure to account for failed ventures (the framework assumes that all incubator tenants succeed) and the ascription of the framework to private incubators only. In Figure 4 Smilor extends the Campbell et al. framework by elaborating various components (incubator af? liation, support systems, impacts of tenant companies) of the incubator-incubation concept.