Business incubators have long been considered an important aspect of new venture creation, and an effective means of fostering new jobs within an economy. Despite Australia being an early adopter of business incubators, local interest has since declined over the last decade. This has left Australia lagging behind some other nations, including those in Europe and Asia, where incubation has been an area of considerable investment in recent years. This report outlines research surrounding business incubators, and in particular, focuses on identifying whether collective learning within business incubators can ultimately contribute to the success of incubatees. It is intended that the information contained within this report be used to support subsequent research studies conducted by La Trobe Business School, and hence recommendations are provided regarding research design and methodologies. Based on the data contained within this report there appears to be strong evidence in support of business incubators; with social capital and collective learning helping to contribute to the efficacy of the incubation process. In saying that, this report also reveals that definition and measurement issues will likely pose as significant hurdles in terms of providing relevant and meaningful interpretations of any data that is collected in future research activities.

Future Research

Business Incubators, Collective Learning and Success

By Lukas Kamay, La Trobe MBA Student 2019

Based on the evidence gathered in this report, it is clear that the geographical proximity provided by business incubators may help to facilitate knowledge transfer and spillover, and moreover, enable information and knowledge sharing among incubatees, which consequently leads to the generation of collective learning and the formation of collective knowledge among incubatees.

Future research ideas:

1) conceptually explore and empirically examine the antecedents that lead to relationships and networks and, ultimately, social capital

2) examine the acquisition, consolidation, and transfer of knowledge within business incubators (i.e. the process of collective learning

3) examine the linkages between relationships, social capital resources, and outcomes, with particular regard to the costs and benefits of building and maintaining relationships and networks within the incubator

Let’s build sustainable incubation together.

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