Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Wesley James Johnston

Second Advisor

Richard J. Welke

Third Advisor

Danny Bellenger


For several decades, the business creation rate has declined in the United States. Scholars and practitioners debate the reasons for the descent, but most agree that it is undesirable. Entrepreneurial sponsors (e.g., government, investors) seek ways to foster strong business startup ecosystems to attract and sustain new companies. Entrepreneurs gravitate toward these concentrated ecosystems to efficiently access resources to improve their odds of startup and survival. Business incubators and accelerators (BIAs) have become prominent in entrepreneurial ecosystems. By consolidating startup-related services, the BIAs offer programs that help entrepreneurs access scarce resources and build capabilities to enable new business growth.

Although BIAs are increasingly popular, there is debate as to their efficacy. The focus of this empirical research is to explore whether entrepreneurs, as the first-hand BIA users, value the BIA programs as a useful tool for progressing their businesses. And if they do find value, then understand what is driving this worth. The study leverages resource-based theory as well as task effort cost theory using quantitative and qualitative methods for analysis.

The research findings indicate that entrepreneurs find BIA programs very valuable for improving their business outcomes. The entrepreneurs express that the program experience is worthwhile regardless of whether their businesses ultimately survive. Moreover, the entrepreneurs strongly recommend the usage of BIAs to fellow entrepreneurs. Many factors contributed to this value, but knowledge resources (e.g., mentors, network) tops the list. Incubator users indicate a reduction in expenses to be most impactful on value, while accelerator users find access to capital funding to be most impactful.

The research contributes to the academic body of knowledge concerning entrepreneurial processes and the application of resource-based theory. It contributes to the literary conversation by providing a supportive position regarding BIA efficacy and bringing forth a variance model to understand contributing factors as well as highlighting differences between incubators and accelerators. Moreover, the study educates entrepreneurs about the potential experience and outcomes from BIA usage. It informs BIA administrators and sponsors about potential ways to provide greater value to their users. Overall, the study’s contributions aim to foster business dynamism.