The Co-evolution of Business Incubators and National Incubator Networks in Emerging Markets

David F. Robinson


The study proposes a three stage model of the development of business incubation practices in emerging markets. The model addresses the diffusion of incubation practices to new markets, the institutionalization of those practices and the co-evolution of incubators and national networks of incubation. The model is based on interviews conducted in Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. New incubators in emerging markets often face strong cultural norms and institutional impediments to helping entrepreneurs start new businesses. As incubation becomes better established in a country, incubators provide more advanced technical, legal and market-based advice. Networks of incubators form to share specialized services across many incubators, to allocate government funding to incubators, and to lobby for public and private support of innovation.


Business Incubation; Co-evolution; Institutional Theory; Innovation; Networks; Development; South America

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