From incubator’s knowledge transfer to sustainability start-ups’ impact : a case study in a French support program Article - Janvier 2023

Sofia Lamperti, Sylvie Sammut, Jean-Marie Courrent

Sofia Lamperti, Sylvie Sammut, Jean-Marie Courrent, « From incubator’s knowledge transfer to sustainability start-ups’ impact : a case study in a French support program  », Journal of Knowledge Management, janvier 2023. ISSN 1367-3270

Abstract

Purpose Sustainability start-ups introduce business models that address current environmental and social challenges. However, to reach their mission, they need to integrate the intention of delivering such impact since their formulation. Business incubators show promise in supporting them in this process by enhancing their access to resources and knowledge during the early stage. For these reasons, this paper aims to investigate the transfer of knowledge in a support program, outlining what knowledge is transferred in the program and through which activities for encouraging the generation of sustainability start-ups’ impact. Design/methodology/approach The present paper is supported by a qualitative case study methodology based on primary data (interviews) and secondary data (internal and external documents) related to a French support program. Findings The study shows that the support program transfers explicit and tacit knowledge for encouraging the generation of sustainability impact, throughout three main phases : awareness, identification and assessment. Research limitations/implications The limitation concerns the analysis of a French support program and the focus on sustainability start-ups. Future research lines will study other and more traditional business incubators to confirm and possibly enrich the results. Practical implications The study has managerial implications for incubator managers willing to support sustainable entrepreneurship and for sustainable entrepreneurs who want to find a support program and reach their impact. Social implications The study shows that a sustainability orientation in business incubators can play a role in fostering sustainable development through the creation of new sustainability ventures. Originality/value This paper contributes to two different fields : sustainable entrepreneurship support and knowledge management in incubators.

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