Specialization as Strategy for Business Incubators: An Assessment of the Central German Multimedia Center
The literature on business incubators (BIs) mainly discusses findings of incubators that do not restrict themselves to specific sectors (diversified incubators). There is a strong disregard of the possible benefits arising from the concept of a sector-specialized business incubator (SBI), although this concept has become more important in recent years. In Germany, about 19% of the incubators can be characterized as being specialized. Since 1999, nearly one-third of all new BIs in Germany opened with a sector-specific focus. This study attempts to approach this research question by examining the advantages and deficiencies of this concept and to address them with empirical observations from an SBI in the city of Halle (Germany), which has an explicit sector-focus on the media industry (MI). We identify key benefits arising from such an incubator concept: (1) high quality premises and equipment, (2) improvement of service and consultancy offerings and (3) image effects for the location. We also find deficiencies of an SBI especially regarding internal networking activities and promotion of linkages to universities. Furthermore a negative working climate impedes interaction. This study offers implications for firms, incubator managers and local policy-makers who are concerned with the instrument of an SBI.