Entrepreneurship support and sustainability focus within business incubators: a European study
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
As societies strive to address current environmental challenges new markets and opportunities are opening up for both businesses and entrepreneurs implement sustainability within their operations. In a recent report by OECD (2013) it is noted that green entrepreneurs in general have to overcome higher barriers than other entrepreneurs, e.g. concerning regulations, immature markets and shortages of skills. Thus, one key question is how identification, evaluation and exploitation of business opportunities related to sustainable innovation and green business can be effectively supported by organizations such as business incubators. The aim of this study is to investigate business incubators in three European countries with the highest positions on European Union’s Eco-Innovation Scoreboard from 2014 (Finland, Germany, Sweden) with respect to how they manage sustainability aspects. More specifically, we are studying how sustainability in social and environmental terms is integrated into incubators’ processes for selection and support of their tenants. The data was collected through a survey where we reached the management of 360 business incubators in the three countries and received 96 responses. We show that there is substantial interest among incubators to gain an image of being sustainability-profiled. However, this image does not seem to be supported with practical organizational routines when selecting and supporting tenants. While the majority of incubators in Finland, Germany and Sweden consider sustainability an important issue for incubation, few incubators actually offer sustainability specific services or advice (e.g. related to ecodesign or marketing of green products). This is a clear gap in the existing entrepreneurship support system that should be addressed by policymakers, stakeholders and managers of incubators.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
business incubators; entrepreneurship support; sustainable business models
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-122689OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-122689DiVA: diva2:871570
Global Cleaner Production and Sustainable Consumption Conference 2015