Taking ideas from mind to market : challenges and critical success factors for effective incubation of ICT start-up firms within the innovation hub.
Shinga, Nonkululeko Yolette Zenobia.
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The study examines the challenges and critical success factors for effective incubation of ICT start-up firms. Information and communication technology (ICT) start-up firms are internationally acknowledged for their contribution to economic growth, improving the quality of life and job creation. The selected case site is the Innovation Hub which hosts a hi-tech incubator called Maxum. The Innovation Hub is an internationally accredited science park located in Tshwane, Pretoria which was launched by the Gauteng Provincial Government in year 2002. The Innovation Hub’s challenge is that its incubation programme is similar to those employed in the developed world. The off-the-shelve programme has not been customised for use within the South African socio-economic context. However, the Innovation Hub is a relatively high performing incubator which has met the prescribed precursors for success. The critical success factors include the hands-on professional services provided to entrepreneurs, value networks and government support. In order to improve the success rate of the incubation of ICT start-up firms, there is a need to adopt a long-term approach towards innovation support and to establish an incentive funding mechanism that fosters job creation by entrepreneurs. The objectives of the study were achieved. The researcher has extended Kumar & Kumar framework and added three critical success factors. The findings of the study cannot be generalised but can be replicated. These findings are of value to the incubator managers and also to the policy-makers when developing and enacting policies that promote incubation of ICT start-up firms.