Business incubators and the networks of technology-based firms
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This paper looks to broaden understanding about the networks of firms located in Business Incubators (BIs). To achieve this objective, a framework for understanding the networks of incubator firms was constructed. We argue that networks at incubators can be seen in two dimensions. In the first dimension, we define incubator firm networking activities in terms of resource type, i.e. tangible and intangible resources. In the second dimension, we define networks of incubator firms as external and internal. Internal networks refer to the relationship among tenants while external networks refer to the firm’s relationship with other institutions such as a university and/or research centre. Networks of firms located at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus in the United Kingdom were investigated using a tenant survey. Findings show that incubator firms develop more networks to access intangible resources than tangible resources. The analysis explored and compared types of networks for highly innovative firms and medium to low innovative firms and found differences in their networking activity. With regards to policy recommendations, this study shows network support for incubator firms can be improved. It also shows that those concerned with developing BI policy need to recognize and appreciate that not all incubator firms have the same needs. This should be taken into account when developing network support.
KeywordsNetwork Incubator Highly innovative firms Medium to low innovative firms
JEL classificationM13 O31 O32
We would like to thank John Leake and Stephanie Forbisser from The Daresbury SIC for their support and helpful comments.
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