Stimulating Academic Entrepreneurship through Technology Business Incubation: Lessons for the Incoming Sponsoring University

Dawn Lyken-Segosebe, Tshegofatso Mogotsi, Sakarea Kenewang, Bonolo Montshiwa


Universities facilitate academic entrepreneurship or their ‘third mission’ by making available supporting mechanisms such as science and technology parks, incubators, and entrepreneurship programs. Botswana’s STEM University seeks to develop a technology park in which it will commercialize the research and intellectual property developed by its faculty members, students, research centers and the country’s private sector through incubation and other processes. As a business support process, technology business incubation nurtures start-up companies and mitigates the risk of their early failure. In this enabling environment, start-ups can concentrate on technology transfer and later “hatch” or leave the incubator financially viable and self-sustaining. Pursuing academic entrepreneurship and the university-model of technology business incubation present benefits for the country, the local community and the university in terms of economic development, economic diversification, job creation, technology development, viable firms, successful products, and the enhancement of university income and prestige. However, university and faculty culture, and the extent of faculty members’ knowledge and skills in entrepreneurship and social capital may temper this potential. Utilizing a narrative review of the literature, this paper sought to identify critical issues a newly-participating university should be aware of as it seeks to adopt the university-model of business incubation to facilitate its transformation from a primary focus on its traditional research and teaching missions to one also based on the formal commercialization activities characterizing academic entrepreneurship. The paper informs on approaches the university may adopt to encourage academic entrepreneurship among its faculty members.

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