Business Incubators: Exploring the Graduated Incubates Entrepreneurs’ Experiences in the Context of Pakistan

  • Darakhshan Safdar Student, Institute of Business and Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.
  • Urooj Qamar Assistant Professor, Institute of Business and Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.
Keywords: Business Incubators, Graduated Incubates, Entrepreneurship, Pakistan.


Business incubation centers (BIs) have emerged as a popular tool for promoting entrepreneurship and economic development worldwide. The study contributes to literature by exploring the dynamics and significance of incubation in establishing businesses for nascent entrepreneurs. Specifically, this research delves into the experiences of graduated entrepreneurs from the National Incubation Center (NIC), a renowned public Business Incubation (BI) center located in Lahore, Pakistan and stands as a pivotal hub for innovation and entrepreneurial growth in the region. NIC provides a dynamic ecosystem where aspiring entrepreneurs and startups converge to receive comprehensive support, mentorship, and resources. The study aims to scrutinize the facilities offered by NIC and their impact on the personal and practical lives of the graduated incubates. Additionally, the research intends to identify the motivating factors for entrepreneurs to join Business Incubation Centers, which comprise networking, mentorship, investment, learning, and personal development. This study utilized a qualitative research design and data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 30 incubated entrepreneurs and analyzed thematically using the approach proposed by Braun and Clark (2006) and aided by NVivo (version 12 plus). The study uncovers several challenges faced by graduated incubates, including a lack of anticipated networking and mentorship, inadequate financial support, insufficient technical assistance, a scarcity of sponsorship initiatives for entrepreneurs, a shortage of legal assistance, and the impact of the pandemic on the incubation process. The study's findings may help policymakers to recognize the most effective institutions and initiatives for supporting entrepreneurial growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, regulatory support for entrepreneurs can reinforce existing institutional frameworks.