U.S. EDA study on business incubation: best practices matter

A report for the U.S. Economic Development Administration, co-authored by UAlbany Prof. David Lewis, finds that best practices in incubator management are strongly related to how well tenant/client companies perform on a number of outcome measures.

Some selected findings of the EDA-funded study:

  • Top-performing incubation programs often share common management practices
  • Incubator advisory board composition matters
  • Neither size of an incubator facility nor age of a program is a strong predictor of client success
  • High-achieving incubators collect client outcome data more often and for longer than their peers
  • Most high-achieving incubators are not-for-profit models
  • Public-sector support also contributes to program success
  • Incubation programs with larger budgets typically outperform incubators with budget constraints
  • No one incubator practice, policy or service is guaranteed to produce incubation program success. Instead, it is synergy among multiple practices that produces optimal outcomes

Prof. Lewis, who co-authored the report with researchers at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy, was present at the first organizational meeting of the Business Incubator Association of New York State in Albany in 2005. He is also the author of a Guide to Business Incubation on our website. Congratulations on the release of this fine report, David!

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