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Are social incubators different from other incubators? Evidence from Italy

Giuliano Sansone (), Pietro Andreotti, Alessandra Colombelli and Paolo Landoni

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2020, vol. 158, issue C

Abstract: This paper defines and analyses incubators that mainly support start-ups with a significant social impact. In 2016, a survey was conducted on the 162 incubators active in Italy, and a total of 88 responses were received. An analysis of the literature and of this dataset led to the identification of three types of incubators: Business, Mixed, and Social. Thirty of the respondents sent information on their tenants. Thanks to the data regarding 247 tenants, it was possible to analyze the impact of the three different types of incubators (Business, Mixed, and Social) on the tenants’ growth through OLS regression analyses. A Social Incubator is here defined as an incubator that supports more than 50% of start-ups that aim to introduce a positive social impact. The study shows that Social Incubators perceive social impact measurement and training/consulting on business ethics and CSR as being more important services than other incubator types. The regression analyses explain that Social Incubators are as efficient as other incubators, in terms of tenants’ economic growth, notwithstanding the focus of Social Incubators on start-ups that do not pursue only economic objectives. Finally, this study indicates that policymakers can foster Social Incubators to support social entrepreneurship.

Keywords: Incubators; Accelerators; Social start-up; Social entrepreneurship; Social innovation; Entrepreneurship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2020.120132

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