White Paper on Business Incubation

The economic development community is increasingly looking at startups as an opportunity for growth, which we think is great. We have also seen an increase in the number of organizations considering business incubation as a strategy to promote entrepreneurship. This may be less great. Incubation can be a highly effective strategy, but one that requires a great deal of sustained commitment, financial support, and technical capacity. Too many incubators are created without these assets in place and are doomed to failure.

We have prepared a two-part white paper examining business incubation. Part One: What We Know (Is Incubation a Winning Strategy РPart 1) examines data on the practice of incubation and shares the insight we have gleaned from interviews with dozens of incubator operators in the U.S. and Canada. It offers an objective assessment of the impact of incubation on startup success. Part Two: Factors in Success (Is Incubation a Winning Strategy РPart 2) shares some of our observations and thoughts on the practices that can help to determine whether an incubator may be successful. It concludes with a brief mention of some of the emerging collaborative models that may serve more clients and be better matched to the capacity of typical economic development organizations.

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