Typical Objectives and Mission statements of Business Incubation Program

Introduction

Business incubator as any organization should have its objectives, mission and vision (however, last two could be optional). Strategic goals are end-points and the reasons why business incubation program exists. These goals are usually established by a key stakeholders and sponsor together with the mission and vision statements. Nevertheless, rarely you will find business incubator’s mission or vision statements stated clearly. Sometimes, they are used interchangeably with goals. Sometimes, they are absent. In other cases they are stated but organization far to fulfill them. What is important is to have end result in mind, and measure performance of a business incubation program in accordance with the objectives.

The main goal of this post is to give an overview of typical objectives and mission statements that are used across the globe in business incubators. And, finally, to synthesize a typical mission and strategic goals for business incubation program (which of course will be different for every particular case). We will not deeply analyze how these goals change and their dependency on internal (life cycle, stage of development of a business incubator, etc) and external factors (macroeconomic factors, etc).

Mission statement of business incubation program

Mission statement is a formal short written statement of an organization’s value proposition (see Wikipedia definition). Any organization should state its main aim, key market or stakeholders, contribution (e.g. value proposition). All these factors combined together provide reasons of its  existence. Below you will find the list of typical mission statements of business incubator programs. This list is the extract of a survey carried out by K. Aerts et. al in 2007 (sample N = 93) (Source: K. Aerts et. al, Technovation, 27, 2007):

Table 1 – Typical mission statements of business incubation programs

Mission statement Frequency
Contributing to the competitiveness of the local economy 26%
Job creation 20%
Supporting SMEs with high growth potential 19%
Stimulating entrepreneurial spirit & innovation promotion 18%
Supporting specific sectors & industry cluster development 8%
Other mission statements:

  • Identifying exploring and developing regional competitiveness
  • Enhancing links between universities, research institutions and the business community
  • Contribute to the growth and success of emerging technology businesses
  • Assessment of a company’s risk profile
  • Transfer of knowledge & better leverage intellectual property from the University and area research institutes
9%

Thus, a typical mission statement of any business incubator could be:

“To increase the successful development of new businesses, job creation and employment in specific sectors that are aligned with a region’s unique areas of opportunity.”

Strategic goals of business incubation program

As it was said before [Business Incubation Defined – part 2] objectives of business incubation program could be considered from 2 distinctive viewpoints:

  • internal  (entrepreneurs’ or customer’s) perspective;
  • external (government, venture funds and business angels, innovation ecosystem, macroeconomic) perspective.

Statistics shows that 90-95% [NBIA data] of business incubation programs around the globe are non-profit. This means that the main stakeholder is government or local authority. Consequently, external point of view on strategic goals will be prevailing in such business incubators, such as jobs creation, local economy development etc. In contrast, if it’s private for profit program, the goals will be connected with revenues, technology commercialization, boosting high-innovative companies.

Goals of business incubators across the countries are also highly dependent on the macroeconomic parameters (stage of economic development, resources and assets of the country, etc). For instance, China’s Torch Program used basically a copy-paste” approach in the beginning in order to accelerate national technology development, commercialization and internationalization. Russian experience (as it was in 2010) shows that few of business incubators are efficient and effective in terms of reaching strategic goals. That is why, only 20% (Source: Ernst & Young, Survey on Russian Business Incubators, 2010} of them mentioned business plans as one of the instruments that they used to measure their efficiency.

The whole list of business incubator objectives that is extracted from several sources[1][2][3][4] is given and classified below:

Typical objectives of business incubation program

Typical objectives of business incubation program

Figure 1 – List of typical objectives of business incubation program

However, if you will need to list 5-7 typical business incubator objectives, they could be as follows (according to Best Incubation Practices, 2011 and The State of Business Incubation Industry, 2006):

Typical most popular objectives of business incubation program

Typical most popular objectives of business incubation program

Figure 2 – Typical most popular objectives of business incubation program

Typical vision, mission and strategic goals of business incubation program

In conclusion, we would like to present a typical “vision – mission – strategic goals” of business incubator based on the analysis of state of industry reports, best practices and typical business plans for business incubation program[5][6][7][8]. Deeper look shows that mostly it reflects external point of view on business incubation program.

Typical Vision, Mission, Strategic Goals of Business Incubator

Typical Vision, Mission, Strategic Goals of Business Incubator

Figure 3 – Typical vision, mission and strategic goals of business incubation program


[1] Best Incubation Practices, 2011

[2] State of the Business Incubation Industry, 2006

[3] Introduction TBI, 2008

[4] The Smart Guide to Innovation-Based Incubators (IBI), 2010

[5] Best Incubation Practices, 2011

[6] State of the Business Incubation Industry, 2006

[7] Introduction TBI, 2008

[8] The Smart Guide to Innovation-Based Incubators (IBI), 2010

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