The success of new business incubation in Australia

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Faculty of Business and Public Management


School of Management




Webster, B. J., & Walker, E. A. (2005). The success of new business incubation in Australia. Proceedings of SEAANZ Conference. Armidale, Australia. SEAANZ. Conference website available here.


Business incubators have been described as a unique way to facilitate the transition of a new business idea or concept to fruition and to assist in the dynamic process of business enterprise development. Business incubators also fulfil all levels of government's commitment to building local business capacity in all regions, given the financial importance of a continuous supply of new small businesses into the economy. The most important objectives of a business incubator are; assisting nascent businesses to start up, assisting in the reduction of small business failure, job creation and the enhancement of entrepreneurship and growing very small businesses into larger enterprises. However, these objectives can only be realised when business incubators are operating effectively, following models of best practice that include sound management procedures, appropriate tenant selection and graduation policies, support systems and strategic directions aligned with localised economic development. The available literature on incubators is concentrated on the European and Northern American economies and very little is known about the status of incubator operation in the Australasian region. Based on the literature it appears that there are very mixed levels of success in meeting the intended objectives of the incubation process. The results, from a series of in-depth interviews with incubator managers, provide a clear picture that to be successful, incubator programs should, at the very least have experienced on-site management, provide a culture of entrepreneurial activity and possess stated entry and graduation policies.