Business Incubation as an Instrument of Innovation: The Experience of South America and the Caribbean

Haven Allahar, Candace Brathwaite


This paper examines the experience of business incubation as an innovative developmental instrument based on the recent experience of the South American countries of Brazil and Chile and the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. A qualitative research method was adopted involving a review of published reports, journal articles and relevant case studies; and face-to-face semi-structured interviews with incubator managerial staff. The major findings are that there are great similarities among the incubators studied in terms of their links to universities, services offered, and funding challenges, but there is growing acceptance of incubation as a potentially valid tool for promoting business development and innovation although most incubators are at the early stage. The paper is original because the case study application to incubation in Trinidad and Tobago is new with only one related article published, and this study therefore adds value to the body of research because business incubation has been under-researched in the study area. The research is limited to the extent that the case study focuses on a comparison of selected incubator features and did not include the views of clients. The practical implications of this study is that sponsors of incubators and managers need to obtain a deeper understanding of the incubation ecosystem especially with regard to innovation-based incubators, if successful innovative businesses are to emerge. The results of the study can also be generalized over the small island developing states of the Caribbean.


Business Incubation; Innovation Ecosystem; Economic Development Strategy; Business Innovation; Entrepreneurship Development; Innovation Management; Review

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