Evaluating how industry collaboration affects growth of business incubators in Nairobi County
Nyangau, Innocent Nyakwara
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Business incubators play a great intermediation role that enable SMEs to thrive and meaningfully contribute to economic growth. Business incubators like other firms go through a process of growth moving from a formative to a transcendental stage where they greatly impact the society and industries they serve. This process of growth of the firms is influenced by a myriad of factors, among them is the level of collaboration between players in its industry. While the impact of collaboration on the growth of firms has been documented in Europe and the America’s this has not been articulated within African and/or Kenyan environment and in particular in the incubation industry context. The study objective was to establish both the forms of growth of business incubators within Nairobi and the nature of collaboration practiced by these incubators in order to evaluate the effect of collaboration on the growth of these business incubators. This study utilised a qualitative design and data was collected through structured interviews to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding on how incubators were collaborating and the impact this had on their businesses. A total of 20 participants were contacted and data was collected from 17 respondents which corresponds to an 85% response rate. Through qualitative data analysis the study established that indeed collaboration was yielding growth for business incubators through the transfer of knowledge and capacity building, the creation of strategic alliances allowing incubators to diversify products and markets, to reduce cost of operation and increasing awareness of business incubations which has attracted resources to the industry. The immediate implications of these findings is the need to develop a clear and concise strategy that will promote business incubation as an avenue for socio-economic development enabled by the expansion of the operating environment further accelerating growth of business incubators.