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Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe

Academic Spin-Offs and Technology Transfer in Europe

Best Practices and Breakthrough Models

Edited by Sven H. De Cleyn and Gunter Festel

While the US has traditionally been successful in commercialising new technologies, Europe is confronted with an increasing dependency for fast developing technologies like biotechnology or ICT, despite having some of the best universities in the world. This book will explore the key attributes of commercialising academic knowledge, focusing on spin-offs. Bringing together the visions and best practices used by leading academics and professionals across Europe, the editors provide new and practical insights on the topic in an attempt to resolve the European paradox.

Chapter 7: Incubation to address the ‘innovation gap’

Ulrich Mahr and Florian Kirschenhofer

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, knowledge management, innovation and technology, innovation policy, knowledge management, technology and ict


Business incubators support the development of companies, helping them get through the early start-up phase, when they are most vulnerable. They offer their tenants a variety of support services and resources to help them to grow. What started as a stopgap solution in 1959 has turned out to be a great way to meet economic and socioeconomic needs by creating jobs, supporting technology transfer and ultimately driving new industry sectors. It is estimated that there are around 7,000 incubators worldwide. In the US, the number of incubators has increased from 12 in 1980 to 1,250 in 2012 (NBIA, 2014). Incubators usually apply a screening process to assess the market potential of prospects before allowing them to join the program. Most incubation models focus on start-up projects, while some focus more on technology development. The range of support given to selected and incubated start-up projects is wide and comprises services such as provision of infrastructure, administrative services, network, education, coaching, etc. Business incubation is the first corporate development step in a company’s life cycle, as shown in Figure 7.1.

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