Application of business incubators in Europe: a SWOT analysis
HANADI MUBARAK AL-MUBARAKI, KUWAIT UNIVERSITY, KUWAIT
MICHAEL BUSLER, RICHARD STOCKTON COLLEGE, USA
Abstract: This research identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats business incubators in Europe face. Theses identifications are based on examinations of international case studies in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. These three countries contain approximately 83% of all the incubators located throughout Europe today, with a survival rate of 90%. There are approximately 300 incubators in the UK, 150 in France, and 300 in Germany with a cumulative total of more than 900 throughout Europe. Business incubators can contribute to the international economy and play a vital role not only in the economic recovery but also in economic development. Business incubators are physical locations that provide a defined set of services to individuals that include specific types of office space, flexible lease terms, access to technology, financing, and technical assistance. Today in the United States, there are 1800 business incubation programs known as business innovation centres. The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) estimates that there are more than 7000 business incubators worldwide. Additionally, INFODEV–an arm of the World Bank Group–currently supports the work of 40 incubators with a success rate of 75-81 percent for companies, and the United Nations Industrial Development (UNDIO) oversees more than 500 incubator projects in developing and transitioning economies. Therefore, incubators play a critical role in promoting knowledge transfer, innovation, entrepreneurialism, employment, wealth creation, and economic development. The paper’s conclusion provides guidance, suggestions and recommendations for business incubators to be successful in Europe based on S.W.O.T. analysis. This is the first time a S.W.O.T. analysis has been adapted for application of business incubations in Europe.
Keywords: Business Incubators, Economic Development, Entrepreneurial, United Kingdom, France, Germany