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Why fostering entrepreneurship incubation culture is important in academia

Posted on Monday, July 29, 2019

Universities are adapting the open incubation centres model and encouraging revenue generation based on campus research, writes Abhinav Chaturvedi

From the 1900s to 2000s, the closed innovation model was ‘vulgatus.’ However, the early 2000s saw the emergence of the open innovation model. This model allowed organisations to involve customers, channel partners, universities and research centres, and individual inventors to come together to achieve more with less. On the basis of this model, universities and research institutions are focussing on contributing to the world of entrepreneurship. 
 
While fostering education for all, the universities also contribute towards economic growth. Although small, this contribution has been increasing steadily since universities are adapting the open incubation centres model and encouraging revenue generation based on campus research. Such a transformation happens either by setting up an enterprise or by licensing technology which is at the core of an entrepreneurial university. Defining an entrepreneurial university is challenging and controversial. There can be multiple approaches, which differentiate the entrepreneurial style of a university, dependent largely on the incubation model of each university. Primarily, the incubation facility is developed to promote the faculty, university students, and other members of the society who wish to start a new enterprise. There is added pressure on the incubator, as on one end there is this responsibility for increasing the revenue, and on the other, it is public accountability. 
 
Across India, Brazil and China, regional as well as state policies have been adopted to kindle the innovation culture by entrepreneurial universities. In case of India, both the central as well state governments have rolled out initiatives such as Startup India, Atal Innovation Mission and Uttar Pradesh’s IT & Startup Policy to mobilise the universities to boost entrepreneurial innovation. Some examples are the incubator at Bennett University (BU) – The Hatchery, being recognised and supported by UP’s IT & Startup Policy as a state level incubator. The focus at BU is on entrepreneurship and innovation to grow locally and regionally. What truly happens to be the game changer for an incubator at an university is the model which it adopts: BU for instance, has the Start-up Maturity Model. The exciting part is that the model cannot be generalised. Primarily because each incubator type such as University Incubators, Virtual Incubators, First Generation Incubators, and some dot.com incubators (during the late 1990s), would have their models with different success factors. 
 
An exclusive incubation model is what each incubator type should have, but each can have shared elements which eventually can contribute towards the building of the entrepreneurship capital . 

(The author is assistant professor, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Bennett University)
 

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