Featured Studies

Role of Public Service

An enabling-oriented approach to government policy, service and regulation may stimulate incubatees growth by helping link firms with customers, suppliers and other actors, within the business incubation ecosystem, who can provide resources. Government may also play a critical role in fostering learning, research and development and innovation.

Learning Huddles in China

There is an imperative to improve the incubatees’ capacity to absorb specific knowledge for their sustainable growth.

Business incubators are ecosystems for collective learning, the ability to share information so efficiently that the ideas of individuals can be stored within the collective memory of communities and can accumulate knowledge through generations of new businesses (Garavan & McCarthy 2008).

Investment Efficiency

A Comparative analysis

Business incubator firms, government agencies and incubatee start-ups often assume there is a relationship between learning and incubation success.  However, it is difficult to determine to what extent business incubation can enable incubatees. On the one hand incubators provide a conducive learning environment for entrepreneur’s venture development (Uloi, 2005) and on the other hand incubators largely offer generic learning which provided little value (Rubin, Aas & Stead 2015).  

Government as Enabler

Where governments have been the forerunners for business incubation investment and have failed to succeed, the failure has been linked to inept or counterproductive allocation of funds and financial subsidies, as well as established businesses making use of the funding schemes that were intended for new and emerging entrepreneurs (Lerner, 2010). These findings have encouraged governments to shift their incubation polices from investor to enabler as a perceived way to more effectively and efficiently use government funds to improve incubatee success.

The stimulation typology for TBIs from different forms of government in China and Australia

Because the Australian government is a federal system with partially self-governing states, it is defined here as distributed, and the Chinese government is a typical centralised system where the central government is ultimately dominant. The 45-degree line distinguishes whether the government’s stimulation model for Technology-Based Incubators (TBIs) is biased toward investor or enabler, where the lower triangle is a region with investor characteristics, the upper triangle is more recognised as an enabler. At the same time, the four approaches are divided and summarised above into the quarters. The three states of Australia and the three provinces of China are located in their respective regions.

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Learning Huddles in Chinese Incubators

Based on the critical function of business incubation to knowledge creation this study explores and adds to the evolution of learning practices in Chinese incubators and delves into how these ‘learning huddles’ influence incubatees’ absorptive capacity (ability to add value, assimilate and apply new knowledge) to improve their chance of sustainable growth. By huddling together, incubatees may improve their capability to develop faster and go to market earlier.

Absorptive capacity and sustainable growth of Chinese incubatees

The study constructs a typology of learning practices based on an extension of common firm-based learning practices and business incubation learning identified in the literature by Fang et al. (2010) and Pettersson & Götsén (2016) to include collective learning practices.

The diagram proposes a typology that could be used as a basis for future studies of learning practices in business incubators.

Business incubator programs provide learning huddles that enhance collective absorptive capacity through interactive mechanisms where individual knowledge is shared, disseminated, and further developed through relational and belonging synergies, thus enhance the social efficiency by way of increasing their social capital.

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Dr Geraldine Kennett
Associate Professor in Business Innovation
La Trobe University
Dr Ling Hu
Associate Professor
University of Science & Technology Beijing

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