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The measurement of success in a business incubation project

Pam Voisey (University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)
Lynne Gornall (University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)
Paul Jones (Business School, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)
Brychan Thomas (Business School, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 1 July 2006




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact and success of a business incubation project on its participants. The study aims to consider the impact of the project in terms of developing and supporting entrepreneurial activity within Wales. It seeks to build on and enhance existing business incubation literature and contribute to the field by identifying “good” practice and considers the measurement of success within such projects.


This study employs an individual case study methodology which evaluates all aspects of the Graduate Teleworking Initiative (GTi) project. A range of qualitative and quantitative methods is utilised to capture the views of aspiring entrepreneurs. In addition the progress of entrepreneurs is compared with “distance travelled” methodologies developed by other EU programmes, using the experiences of GTi businesses as individual case histories. In addition, this paper looks at additional ways to measure the success of this type of project, based on a study of the current academic literature and work currently being undertaken with funding agencies in Wales in respect of economic regeneration. The case study method is recognised as the most effective research strategy to capture the “rich” experience of complex projects.


The study finds that, if incubation facilities are to receive continuing support, the measurement of success needs to be broader than a set of statistical outputs. The academic literature queries whether business incubation works, and invites us to decide if the end result is of value or not. This paper considers additional ways to measure the success of this type of project. Applications for public funding in support of business incubators as part of an overall economic regeneration strategy should be able to provide a wider evaluation of effectiveness, and this paper seeks to develop a model to this purpose, to assist the ongoing development of incubator facilities in Wales.

Practical implications

This study will be of interest to business incubation providers and entrepreneurial researchers in identifying valid and achievable success measures and should inform developments in this field.


The paper provides a unique insight into a successful business incubation project and identifies the key to its on going success. Furthermore, the study identifies generic measures of success for a typical business incubation project based on the GTi experience and a detailed investigation of alternative business incubators.



Voisey, P., Gornall, L., Jones, P. and Thomas, B. (2006), "The measurement of success in a business incubation project", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 454-468.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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