Sustainable Incubator Management—A Case Study for Pakistan.

Aneel Salman, Atif Abdul Majeed.


Information technology (IT) is impacting all spheres of human
activity at an unprecedented rate. Parallel to this development, there
is also an intense debate on the contribution of this technology towards
productivity and growth on the one hand, and human welfare on the other,
in developed and developing countries. The “Technology Based Industrial
Vision and Strategy for Pakistan’s Socio Economic Development”
commissioned by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the Pakistan
Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) lays out guidelines on how to
make Pakistan an economically stable and technologically advanced
‘knowledge economy’. Based on recommendations from this document, the
Government of Pakistan (GoP) has made investments in infrastructure and
human resource development. Sites have been allocated for IT campuses
and human resources sent abroad for training. With these trained IT and
engineering personnel now returning to the country, plans are underway
to develop what USAID1 calls “centres of excellence, commercial research
centres…or to be more concise, incubator centres.” In order to fully
utilise the potential of these centres and to establish stronger
networking with the universities from where these trained personnel are
returning, the concept of “incubator programmes” has been floated to
facilitate technology commercialisation. Although the incubator
phenomenon was conceived in the 1950s, it only mushroomed rapidly in
North America in the 1980s. Today, even though America has the largest
number of incubator facilities in the world, most have failed to produce
desired results, primarily due to poor management and lack of clear
vision. This paper focuses on the development of a sustainable blue
print for incubator programmes in Pakistan through proactive management
and enterprise development. This model would integrate faculty,
students, laboratory resources, research facilities and strategically
align the objectives of these entities with the industry. Such
programmes have the potential to make Pakistani students globally
competitive and also diversify the income resources of incubators, hence
making them less dependent upon subsidies and acting as true platforms
of technological entrepreneurship, small and medium enterprises, which
are considered the drivers of knowledge based economies. JEL
classification: O32, H42, L15, I23 Keywords: Innovation, Technology,
Public Economics

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