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IntEnt2002 : Internationalizing Entrepreneurship Education and Training - Proceedings of the IntEnt-Conference Johore Bahru, Malaysia, July 8-10, 2002
8. University Incubation Programmes as an Entrepreneurship Learning Facility (S. 131-132)
Truls Erikson Are Gjellan
The point of departure is a temporary university incubator at a Norwegian technological University. These incubation programmes are held quarterly, and comprises six parallel developing teams nurturing and qualifying different business idea into viable business plans. The programme has been successful, in technological, commercial and learning terms. Out of 101 business ideas, 57 successful new technology based firms have been created from the incubation programme, and more than 400 students have received significant practical real life hands-on start-up experiences which have resulted in increased start-up competence and motivation. Implications are discussed. Keywords: entrepreneurship training, technology, incubation, NTBF.
In this study, the nascent founders of NTBFs who participated in NTNU’s incubation programme were surveyed. During the period of 1997 to 2001, 101 business ideas have been nurtured and qualified through the incubation programme. Of the responding 74 founders, 57 of them classify their initiatives as successful start-ups. The temporary incubation programme typically comprises a temporary business incubation hotel, a diversity of graduate students forming a development team, a qualified mentor, and a nascent founder with the original business idea. The virtual incubation of the business plan take place during an intensive week, and typically ends with presentations for a panel of qualified informal and formal investors. Before the intensive incubation week, all the participants are trained in business modelling and the basics of business plan research and writing. It should be noted that all the submitted business ideas have been through a pre-qualification before they are admitted to the programme. This pre-qualification is based on the likelihood for the initiative to be realised, and is normally carried out by the small unit implementing the programmes. What’s in it for the stakeholders? Investors get the opportunity to screen the projects first (before other investors), and provide in return valuable feedback. Students are exposed to distinctive mastery, vicarious and social entrepreneurship learning experience from day one. Similarly, the nascent founder managers are exposed to committed human, social and financial capital.
Incubation Incubators can, according to Lee, Miller et al. (2000) play four somewhat different venture habitat replication roles: a) transaction cost reduction, b) filling missing gaps, c) replicating the venture habitat on a micro-level, and/or d) accumulating organisational learning. Our temporary incubation programme contributes with, and facilitates all these particulars. However, we attempt to assess how successful this incubation programme is with regard to subsequent NTBF performance. Hence, we which to address the following hypothesis: H1: How successful has the incubation programme been, seen in retrospect? According to Kulicke & Krupp (1987), NTBF can be conceived of as young firms whose products are based on technology. Likewise, we see technology and NTBF development, essentially as a social construct. That is, technology prerequisites people, and peoples’ knowledge, skills, and experiences essentially create technology (Autio, 2000). After all, ‘technology’ addresses the social art of techniques. Similarly, the development of new firms is also social determined. Hence, the study of the emergence of NTBFs should, in large, measure the process outcomes, e.g. subsequent performance of both the developed firm as well as the learning effects among team participants. We are therefore not only concerned with subsequent firm performance, but also the learning effects among the participating individuals.