Incubator Organizations as Entrepreneurship and SME Policy Instrument in Transition Economies: A Survey among six Countries
Within incubator-incubation research, there is a predominant focus on incubator organizations located in industrialized or developed economies. Knowledge regarding the evolution of incubators located in transition economies is almost non-existent. However, meanwhile a significant number of incubators have been established since the fall of the iron curtain in many Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as well. Here, the present paper sets in through providing evidence on the development, distribution and structural characteristics of incubators in six selected CEE countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). We show that incubator organizations have become a central element of support infrastructure for SME and entrepreneurship in CEE countries during the past 20 years. We further argue that by drawing upon the accumulated experience with incubators in developed Western (European) economies, there are important lessons to be learned for incubator stakeholders in transition economies. We, therefore, outline particular suggestions considered to be vital for long-term successful incubation processes in transition economies.