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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

An Online Assessment and Development Tool for Business Incubators: Measuring to Improve Business Incubation Management Skills, Performance and Impact

There is a pressing need amongst various stakeholders, including practitioners, academics and policy makers to create a credible mechanism that enables the assessment of incubation management against best practice and the evaluation of performance and impact of incubators, consistently. 

To address this need, this project aims to provide proof-of-concept for an online tool prototype, which assesses the skills and competencies of business incubator managers, as well as the performance and impact of business incubators, longitudinally. 

To this end, a sample of 30 incubators (approximately 10 per cent of the total UK population) will be selected to reflect a cross-section of incubation circumstances, so that incubators with a social inclusion, community and regeneration objectives are included.The managers of these incubators will be interviewed face-to-face (30 interviews will be conducted).These interviews, in conjunction with non-participant observation of using the online tool and consideration of the incubators’ policies and strategic plans, will be undertaken to test and fine-tune the prototype.Through this process, a database containing comparable information about the incubators’ management, performance and impact will be populated. 

This project will serve as a catalyst for nurturing a community of incubation management practitioners, which will be using the online tool to align itself to best practice