Business Incubators - the savior of startups? : An exploratory study on knowledge acquisition in a business incubator from a startup perspective

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract:

Startups play a vital role in economic development, however, have a high rate of failure, partly due to insufficient knowledge resources. A business incubator is an institution aimed to assist startups with services and resources in order to facilitate their development. There is, however, a gap in previous research regarding knowledge flows and acquisition in business incubators. Furthermore, few scholars have conducted research from the startup perspective in this context. This study, therefore, aims to explore how startups acquire knowledge in a business incubator from the perspective of a startup. This has been investigated through a qualitative study of the business incubator Uppsala Innovation Centre where a selection of startups has been interviewed regarding their participation and potential knowledge acquisition. The empirical findings reveal that startups acquire knowledge from several sources e.g. business coaches, other startups; however, the extent of knowledge acquisition and nature of knowledge differs. Most of the knowledge is explicit knowledge acquired through the process of vicarious learning. Overall, the business incubator is argued to fulfill its operations and help startups in their development. This study contributes with needed insights into the business incubator operations from the startup's perspective and expands previous business incubator research by adding a knowledge acquisition perspective.

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