C. Vedovello, M. Godinho
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
In recent years, the subject of technological infrastructures has commanded increasing interest from several socio-economic and political segments, including policy-makers, development agents, entrepreneurs, academic and research communities. The focus of industrial and innovation policies has been gradually shifting away from the exclusive or dominant use of direct instruments of support to other more indirect forms of assistance. In order to improve the competitive environment of firms, huge amounts of money have been pouring into the building and reinforcing of technological infrastructures. Among the infrastructures that have been stimulated, business incubators seem to be a possible policy tool aiming at the constant increment of firms' competitiveness and economic development, through the promotion of technology-based entrepreneurship, diversification of productive activities and the generation and diffusion of innovation in the economy. Incubators have been implemented all over the world, putting together several social actors and their different sets of purposes and objectives. As a consequence, they have also generated a high level of political and economic expectations in relation to their performance. This paper aims to contextualise and systematise the available information and knowledge on incubators as a technological infrastructure and policy tool, providing background information for the whole set of papers of this Special Issue of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management on "Business incubators and SMEs policy and determinants for their success".