The Digital Value Propositions for Virtual Business Incubators

The Digital Value Propositions for Virtual Business Incubators

Angelo Saavedra (Business School, University of New England, Australia), Bernice Kotey (Business School, University of New England, Australia) and Kamaljeet Sandhu (Business School, University of New England, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5171-4.ch001

Abstract

Business incubators (BIs) are property-based initiatives that provide nascent entrepreneurs access to a mix of business support services and networking opportunities. These services are expected to foster the idea generation process from inception to commercialisation, with the hope they will later develop into self-sustaining, thriving ventures. Digital technologies have enabled BIs to extend their support services to include new digital services, and to expand their geographical coverage, giving rise to the virtual business incubator (VBI). This chapter provides a detailed review of the BI from its origin until the emergence of the VBI, highlighting their main characteristics, differences, and benefits. Furthermore, the author argues the view of the VBI as an extension of the BI is insufficient to fully understand its operations, value-added incubation services, and contribution to venture success. Therefore, a novel conceptual framework to define the VBI is proposed.
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Research Methodology

An extensive and systematic qualitative literature review was conducted on business incubation processes, business incubator’s evolution over time, digital technologies, the virtual organisation and virtual communities. Drawing on the theoretical model developed by Briel et al (2018) on how digital technologies influence the venture creation process, the authors anticipated that for VBIs to be effective and positively impact entrepreneurs, they should employ adequate digital technologies. These technologies should simultaneously enable all stages of the venture creation process (prospecting, developing and exploiting) in the sector targeted by the VBI, facilitate interactive learning and foster relationship building. One way of doing this is through the delivery of business support services and learning resources in virtual communities.

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