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Venture creation and award-winning technology through co-produced incubation

Are Branstad (School of Business, Vestfold University College, Horten, Norway)
Alf Steinar Saetre (Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 15 February 2016




Corporate incubation is a type of business incubation designed to assist small firms to develop using know-how available in large companies. The purpose of this paper is to explicate how incubation services can be co-produced and describe the contributions and conditions influencing learning and firm development.


The study used a longitudinal single-case method to analyze a small firm’s development process during four years of incubation. The authors recorded and analyzed interviews with the incubator manager and the entrepreneur, and with incubator staff and external stakeholders.


The incubator provided knowledge- and network-based services. These services emphasized the need for the entrepreneurs to be both proactive and receptive to counseling. Although the incubator and the entrepreneurs made progress in developing the company, a dispute over ownership shares threatened to break down the incubation process.

Research limitations/implications

Taking evidence from a longitudinal case study, this paper exemplifies and emphasizes that incubation can be a process of interdependent service production in which entrepreneurs are active contributors. Future research should explore how managers and entrepreneurs handle the ambiguities of valuation of incubator contributions.

Practical implications

For managers it is important to take seriously the key task of communicating the value of the incubator’s contribution to the companies they recruit. For entrepreneurs it is important to find ways to estimate potential for value added from the incubator.


This paper provides a processual understanding of the dynamics of incubator co-production, not found in extant literature.



This paper is based on the first author’s dissertation research. The second author was co-adviser of the dissertation research.


Branstad, A. and Saetre, A.S. (2016), "Venture creation and award-winning technology through co-produced incubation", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 240-258.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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