Beyond Incubation: An Analysis of Firm Survival and Exit Dynamics in the Post-graduation Period

With regard to the survival rates of business incubator (BI) firms, the literature mainly presents findings of failure rates only during the incubation period. Little is known about the survival or exit dynamics of firms after leaving the incubator facilities. The study approaches this research question by examining the survival of 352 firms from five German BIs after their graduation. The findings suggest that graduation causes an immediate negative effect on survivability that lasts up to three years after leaving the incubators. Furthermore, heterogeneous patterns of post-graduation exit dynamics between the BIs were observed. It was also found that performance during the incubation period is an indicator of the propensity of business closure after graduation. This study offers valuable insights and implications for all stakeholders of BI-initiatives.

04. August 2009

Authors Michael Schwartz

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