Original Research

A stakeholder approach towards a consolidated framework for measuring business incubator efficacy

Rowan L. Trethewey-Mould, Menisha N. Moos
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 16, No 1 | a776 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v16i1.776 | © 2024 Rowan Lyle Mould, Menisha Moos | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 2023 | Published: 29 March 2024

About the author(s)

Rowan L. Trethewey-Mould, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Menisha N. Moos, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Business incubators (BIs) are considered enablers of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, however there remains a lack of consensus as to whether incubators are effective or even as to how incubator efficacy should be measured.

Aim: This study seeks to develop a consolidated framework for measuring the efficacy of BIs using stakeholder theory as its theoretical basis. This study set out to answer the following research questions:

  • What is the relevance of stakeholder theory to incubator efficacy measurement?
  • What stakeholder groups are relevant to BIs in South Africa?
  • What relationships between stakeholder groups and perspectives on BI efficacy exist that would underpin a framework for measuring incubator efficacy?

Setting: Empirical research was conducted with BIs operating within South Africa, with various incubator types, contexts and industry focus included in the study.

Methods: A sample of nine incubator managers were interviewed as part of this exploratory qualitative study, demonstrating the breadth of the incubator industry in South Africa.

Results: A framework comprising two distinct but related perspectives on incubator efficacy is proposed. Further to this, two additional concepts – incubator-stakeholder conflict and restrictive incubator context – were identified.

Conclusion: This study proposes a consolidated framework for measuring the efficacy of BIs, considering a variety of stakeholder perspectives, and may inform policymakers regarding business incubation in the future.

Contribution: This study identifies and defines incubator-stakeholder conflict as a concept, making a theoretical contribution to the field. Additionally, the study proposes a comprehensive stakeholder-based framework proposed for measuring incubator efficacy.


Keywords

business incubation; entrepreneur support organisations; incubator efficacy; consolidated framework; qualitative research; stakeholder theory

JEL Codes

L26: Entrepreneurship; O32: Management of Technological Innovation and R&D; O38: Government Policy

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

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