Exploring the role of Malaysian research university-based incubators in facilitating the entrepreneurial process

Guat Eng Liow, Hui Man Wong


Objective of the study: To clarify the role of university-based incubators in facilitating the entrepreneurial process by elucidating the value-add of the incubation activities through the lens of real options-driven theory and resource-based view theory.

Methodology/approach: An in-depth case study of five Malaysian research-led universities is conducted through thirteen semi-structured interviews with UBI managers and staff.

Originality/Relevance: Integrating real options-driven theory and resource-based view to understand the roles of UBI in supporting the entrepreneurial process, elaborated in the three stages of incubation: pre-main-post incubation phase.

Main results: UBI has a decisive role in facilitating entrepreneurial process through selecting potential entrepreneurs, mobilising the optimal mix of tangible and intangible resources, and monitoring the entrepreneurial process. All the five UBIs displayed interorganisational relationships with the various stakeholders and have capable incubator manager as a linchpin to facilitate the incubation process from pre to main incubation phase. However, there is little evidence on aftercare post incubation services to support the entrepreneurial growth stage, which are crucial for their continuing survival and growth.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: It adopts a multi-theoretical lens of real options-driven theory and resource-based view theory to explain the roles of UBIs in the entrepreneurial process.

Social/management contributions: It provides insights, best practices, and frameworks regarding the incubation process of Malaysian UBIs, and how its roles can be enhanced to drive more successful entrepreneurial processes.


University-based incubators; Incubation process; Academic entrepreneurship

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5585/iji.v9i2.18578


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