In many countries of the OECD business incubators have become an increasingly popular policy instrument for local economic and employment development. Business incubators aim to assist entrepreneurs with enterprise start-ups. Incubators are also being widely used to pursue related objectives such as the commercialisation of university research, providing infrastructure, upgrading the technological capabilities of local firms, and even affording a safe haven for legitimate entrepreneurship where crime is a constraint on business. As this publication makes clear, there is no unique business incubation model. Rather, there is considerable diversity in the types of business incubator, their modes of operation and the objectives they pursue.
Interest in business incubation comes from a variety of sources. Local and regional governments, universities, chambers of commerce, science parks, private real-estate developers and non-profit organisations have all participated in establishing and running incubation programmes. However, this is still a young industry in many countries, and evaluation material is scarce. This publication reviews current experience in business incubation in Australia, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Indeed, this volume is one of the first to treat the international experience of business incubation.