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Business Incubators: If you build it, will entrepreneurs succeed?

Business Incubators: If you build it, will entrepreneurs succeed?

  • This is an excerpt from Kenan Insights, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Substantial is always trying to bring you insightful content and helpful resources. We reached out to Carolyn Fryberger, Assistant Director of Economic Development, NCGrowth, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and asked if we could share a few of her business and policy takeaways from a Kenan Insights article titled “Business Incubators: If you build it, will entrepreneurs succeed?” September 2020 


  • In certain contexts, business incubators provide needed resources to entrepreneurs and make young businesses more successful. Incubators should carefully evaluate how much bridging, buffering and curating mechanisms are needed in their communities and whether there is enough financial and human capital for an effective incubator staff.
  • Entrepreneurs don’t always know what they need and may hesitate to take advantage of all the resources an incubator provides. Incubators should promote business training as a core value proposition and employ assertive strategies to help entrepreneurs take full advantage of opportunities such as networking and mentorship.
  • If an incubator is not right for a community, alternative policies and programs may be implemented to promote entrepreneurship — for example, zoning laws that make low-cost business space more available or small business skills workshops. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that most incubator programming, including trainings, pitch competitions and networking events, can be effectively provided without the need for physical space.

Read the full work here.

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Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

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Established in 1985 by Frank Hawkins Kenan, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is a nonpartisan business policy think tank affiliated with the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. The nonprofit institute and its affiliated centers convene leaders from business, academia and government to better understand how the private sector can work for the public good. The institute leverages best-in-class research to develop market-based solutions to today’s most complex economic challenges. In doing so, the institute aims to support businesses and policies that better the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.

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