A Special report on business incubators published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) says EU|BICs (Business & Innovation Centres) reach better results and have higher impact than other EU incubators thanks to the use of sound quality, benchmarking and monitoring mechanisms.
The European Court of Auditors has just published the Special Report “Has the ERDF successfully supported the development of business incubators?”.
This report examines the profile, services, key performance indicators (KPIs) and the value for money of a group of 60 business incubators that received ERDF funding in six different EU Countries, and compares them with EBN certified EU|BICs (“the benchmarked incubators”).
The main finding of the study is that, despite of the significant contribution of ERDF to the creation of adequate infrastructure, the performance of the audited incubators was modest and disappointing. This is in particular explained by the fact that “… too little attention had been paid to the effectiveness of incubators’ business support functions …”
The report clearly recognizes that “… The effectiveness of the benchmarked EC-BIC certified incubators … was much higher… and that support offered to businesses beyond the scope of physical incubation … had contributed to this high start-up creation rate…”
EU|BICs, which implement the EBN quality system, provide a higher range of professional services to innovative entrepreneurs – not only start-ups and resident companies but also existing innovative firms – reach higher KPIs and have higher return on investment for the public sector, than the audited incubators. Indeed the main difference reported is that EU|BICs continuously invest in the development of up-to-date services to ensure that the business support value chain (from entrepreneurship awareness raising to the expansion phase of a start-up) is fully delivered with skilled staff, robust methods, mutualized good practices and constant monitoring.
EU|BICs were initially created through a pilot project funded and supported by the European Commission (DG Regional & Urban Policy) with ERDF funding. Today, the EU|BIC trademark is fully endorsed by the European Commission as the best practice to follow when deploying innovation-based incubation and acceleration strategies.
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