Review of 20 Business Incubation Models – Carter & Jones-Evans Process Incubation Model 2000 (Part 4 of 20)

In today’s post of Business Incubation Models series I would like to present first process model. Smilor’s model, Cambell’s model and Nijcamp’s model were structure models. Authors discussed elements of the business incubator, but haven’t explained how the incubation process is organized, what are the steps and the possible consequence of the business incubation process.

Today I introduce Carter & Jones-Evans model of business incubation. It simply shows key steps of the incubation process. After small explanation of the model I will show some inconsistencies of the model.

2000, Carter & Jones-Evans, white-box, process model, operations

Source (Author, Year): Carter & Jones-Evans, 2000
Purpose of a model: To show key step of the incubation process
Type of a model: Process model
Abstraction technique: White-box
Theoretical background: No information provided
Resources: No information provided
Processes and practices:

Steps are:

  • idea formulation
  • post entry development
  • opportunity recognition
  • entry and launch
  • pre-start planning and preparation
Efficiency and effectiveness: Process model is organized as a waterfall model. Thus, efficiency of the whole process depends on the efficiency of the each stage.
Linkages “Entrepreneur – Business Incubator – Innovation Ecosystem”: There is a strong link between incubation process and entrepreneurship process (sequenced needs of an entrepreneur).
Key contribution: Incubation process reflects the process of entrepreneur and the needs of incubate.

This is a first true process model in a row. Carter & Jones-Evans (2000)[1] proposed a typical five-step incubation process, as shown in the figure above. As it can be seen from Carter & Jones-Evans’ (2000) model the process is organized and focused on the needs of the incubatee, which will be supported by the services provided by the incubators during the incubation process. The incubation process according to the Carter & Jones-Evans consists of the following stages:

  1. idea formulation with focus areas are past experience: work, training, education; creativity;
  2. post entry development (developing networks; achieving credibility)
  3. opportunity recognition (economic environment; cultural attitudes to risk)
  4. entry and launch;
  5. pre-start planning and preparation with focus areas such as finding partners; market research; access to finance.
Carter & Jones-Evans Process Incubation Model (2000)

Carter & Jones-Evans Process Incubation Model (2000)

Later on Carayannis & Zedtwitz (2005)[2] reviewed presented model, identified and added five services that are crucial for the incubatees:

  1. Access to physical resources.
  2. Administrative support.
  3. Access to financial resources.
  4. Business/organizational support in the start-up phase.
  5. Access to the networking activities.

Despite the validity of the services provided and of the model proposed by Carter & Jones-Evans and Carayannis & Zedtwitz, it is possible to question:

  • Why the incubation process is based on waterfall model? Shouldn’t it be iterative? For instance, some needs of tenants could be on their peak during opportunity recognition phase. But they could also occur at later stages. That’s why this model can’t be simply waterfall-based.
  • Which services out of the whole range of steps and services should be implemented in a typical incubator?
  • How to measure effectiveness and efficiency of the incubation process?
  • How and in what way incubators exactly provide their support to tenants?

To summarize, Carter, S. & Jones-Evans presented process model. This is first conceptualization of the business incubation flow. Main point of the model is that you list key stages and main services that are delivered at each stage. However, this doesn’t give practitioners any relevant advice of how to build a real business incubator.


[1] Carter, S. & Jones-Evans, D. (2000).  Enterprise and Small Business: Principles, Practice and Policy, Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow, England.

[2] Carayannis, E. & Zedtwitz, M. (2005). Architecting gloCal (global?local), Real-virtual Incubator Networks (G-RVINs) as Catalysts and Accelerators of Entrepreneurship in Transitioning and Developing Economies: Lessons Learned and Best Practices from Current Development and Business Incubation.  Technovation, Vol. 25

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