Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 326: Incubator specialization and size: divergent paths towards operational scale

Magnus Klofsten , Erik Lundmark , Karl Wennberg and Megan Bank
Additional contact information
Magnus Klofsten: Linköping University
Erik Lundmark: Linköping University
Karl Wennberg: The Ratio Institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Megan Bank: Linköping University

Abstract: Research on incubators show that size is important in achieving efficiency and networking benefits for clients. However, little research has focused on what factors influence incubator size. We theorize and show partial support for size benefits to incubator specialization. Analyses of the relationship between size and four distinct specialization strategies in a sample of 96 European incubators show that incubator size is positively related to a strategic focus on universities and research institutes as recruitment channels and to a focus on sustainability, but not to a regional or industry focus. Paradoxically, tenants with a focus other than sustainability often dominate sustainability-oriented incubators, suggesting that sustainability may be more of a legitimating strategy than an explicit selection criterion.

Keywords: Business incubator; industry; region; university; sustainability; specialization; focus; size

JEL-codes: L25; L26; O32

41 pages, November 26, 2019

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