Incubation, university technology incubator, incubator best practices, economic development


This research is designed to distinguish and describe or explain incubator practices that affect the performance of incubator clients of university technology incubator programs. The research focuses on understanding which practices significantly contribute to increasing job creation for the firms located in university based technology incubators. An increasing number of communities are embracing economic development strategies that target the high tech sector with high wage, high value jobs as a way to diversify their economies and boost local and regional economies. New economic development strategies include the notion of a creation strategy or "growing your own" instead of relying on recruiting of existing companies from other regions. In 1999-2000 (according to the most recent data), small businesses created three-quarters of U.S. net new jobs (2.5 million of the 3.4 million total). The small business percentage varies from year to year and reflects economic trends. Over the decade of the 1990s, small business net job creation fluctuated between 60 and 80 percent. Moreover, according to a Bureau of the Census working paper, start-ups in the first two years of operation accounted for virtually all of the net new jobs in the economy. The study is broken into three parts: (1) a review of the literature on incubation, focusing on its history, best practices, technology incubation, networking theory, and previous empirical studies (2) a review of previous data collected in a recent national survey and (3) case studies of the top performing incubators in the country based on employment growth of client firms contracted with case studies from non-top ten programs. The literature suggests that the study of incubation must be considered in the context of a larger enterprise development system of which the incubator will fill gaps in the larger regional enterprise development system. This notion is explored. In general, there is a great need for more empirical research into best practice of incubation. It is a non trivial task however as the nature of the industry limits the ability to obtain traditional, statistically defendable, measures.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date





Kulonda, Dennis


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering and Management Systems








Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Engineering Commons