Asia-Pacific National Innovation Systems
Online Resource Centre

Capacity Building

PrintFriendly

Printer Friendly and PDF

Workshop on Incubatee Selection and Mentoring Strategy of
Technology Business Incubator Management

09-10 July 2012
Jakarta, Indonesia

Organized by
Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)


in cooperation with

Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Government of Indonesia

Supported by
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India Association of Indonesia Business Incubators, Jakarta, Indonesia

Brief Report
Co-organizers
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Government of Indonesia;
Association of Indonesia Business Incubators;
Nusantara Ventures, Indonesia; and
Providensia Solusindo, Pt.

Background
The technology business Incubator (TBI) has become an effective instrument in nurturing the growth of new technology-based firms (NTBFs) both in developed countries and developing countries. As TBIs can reduce the risks faced by NTBFs, they provide opportunities for the accelerated growth of NTBFs. TBIs have also become an effective intermediary institution in facilitating the transfer of technology from research institutes and higher education centres by providing specialized support and services to technology providers and (potential) tenants. As such, TBIs form an important element of the National Innovation System (NIS) of a country. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the Asian and Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT-ESCAP) organized a workshop on the theme of nurturing NTBFs through appropriate incubatee selection and mentoring them through TBI services to enhance the capacity of managers and senior staff of TBIs in nurturing the growth of NTBFs.

This workshop is a follow-up to the capacity building workshop organized in November 2011 that aimed to enhance the capacity of management and staff of TBIs to manage their TBIs more effectively. The workshop also facilitated sharing of experiences and successful practices concerning management of TBI to enable the participants devise better approaches for accelerating the commercialization of technological innovations.

The target group of the current workshop included: managers and senior staff of TBIs from Indonesia (and participants from the Asia-Pacific region); incubatees of TBIs and new technology-based firms (TBI alumni); managers and staff of related institutions involved in technology incubation programmes; managers and staff of intermediary institutions providing services to new technology-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and financial institutions providing services to newly technology-based SMEs.

Objectives

  • To enhance the practical knowledge of managers or future managers and senior staff of TBIs in Indonesia and the Asia Pacific region in the areas of tenant (incubatee) selection and related mentoring processes and strategies;
  • To provide an opportunity for TBI managers and key stakeholders to develop a network to exchange experiences, best practices, and discuss expectations;
  • To highlight major issues and strategies needed to boost the growth of NTBFs and innovative SMEs in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Major Outputs
    Prof. Bambang Subiyanto, Director, Centre for Innovation, LIPI, in his welcome address, emphasized the need to increase the number of new technology-based firms graduating from the technology incubators. With experts from diverse countries, the workshop would add value to programmes in sharing and exchanging experience and knowledge among experts and the participants. He also acknowledged the contribution of APCTT-ESCAP in developing and supporting training programmes. Mr. Asril Fitri Syamas, President, Association of Indonesia Business Incubators (AIBI), mentioned that Indonesia has more opportunities to create new enterprises through nearly 50 TBIs that are co-located with the universities as well as set up by provincial governments. In order to overcome the current challenges in managing the TBIs, Indonesia is finalizing a new TBI policy that would help provide financial support to TBIs, create modern infrastructure and ensure an environment conducive for innovation. Mr. K. Ramanathan, Head of APCTT-ESCAP, traced the partnership and cooperation of the Centre with LIPI since its inception in 1977. He also narrated the major outcome and outputs of the NIS Project Phase I and introduced activities planned for Phase II of the Project.

    In his opening address, Prof. Lukman Hakim, Chairman, LIPI, underlined that TBI and techno-entrepreneurship are important elements of NIS. Several international organizations such as UNESCO, World Bank, UNIDO and ESCAP have promoted the concept of TBI and it is one of the indices in the global innovation index. He said he looks forward to the continuing partnership with APCTT-ESCAP in strengthening various components of the NIS of Indonesia.

    Mr. Totok Hariwibowo from the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs presented the keynote address. He informed the participants that about 100 technology-based SMEs have emerged from the SME Innovative Capacity Development Programme that was introduced in 2008. Out of more than 50 million SMEs in Indonesia, only a few thousand are technology-based SMEs. To accelerate the economic growth, the Government of Indonesia plans to develop six economic corridors, improve connectivity to spur inclusive, high growth, and develop entrepreneurship. In this context, TBIs play a vital role in promoting and nurturing the technology-based SMEs and technology-based new entrepreneurship.

    The first technical session of the workshop focused on the incubate selection process of TBI. APCTT-ESCAP narrated the role of TBIs in promoting new technology-based firms. Mr. Julian Webb, the InfoDev TBI facilitator in Asia-Pacific from Australia, shared various aspects of selection criteria and shed light on the process involved in scouting for potential entrepreneurs and their selection. He also dwelled on the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs and on the different types of TBIs – mixed-use, technology-based and industry-specific. The three core elements of a successful entrepreneur are idea, team and finance. Mr. Webb discussed bout the nature and characteristics of the members of a selection panel or committee of a TBI, incubation agreements with specific reference to use of space and provision of soft and hard services. It is also important to note, he said, that while TBIs help entrepreneurs to grow, only a few TBIs survive in the long run.

    During group discussions, the participants developed a check list of items/questions to assess the entrepreneurial potential of the person and a check list of items to assess the commercial feasibility of an idea. The second presentation of Mr. Webb was on the evaluation of existing tenants’ selection process and programmes for their improvement. He introduced a set of questions to gather information from an incubatee that could be used to evaluate his readiness to business and personal character based on the point scores. This was tested as a group exercise to demonstrate and discuss about its relevance in evaluating an incubatee.

    In the second session, experts from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand shared information and discussed about various elements of start-up mentoring programmes. The expert from Malaysia shared his views with examples on an effective mentoring programme and its key success factors. The experts from Malaysia and Indonesia narrated various practices of mentoring TBIs start-up or new technopreneurs. The expert from Thailand discussed about the role of peer mentoring in improving an incubatee performance, quoting specific examples from his country.

    During the third session, a TBI manager from Indonesia, based on her practical experiences and knowledge, shared lessons learnt and best practices in managing a technology incubator. This was followed by a panel discussion on an action plan for improving selection and mentoring programmes at TBIs. The two experts from Indonesia elaborated on the financing strategy of TBIs and financing incentive for new technopreneurs.

    The expert from Thailand presented a case study during the fourth session of the workshop to demonstrate the role of TBIs in the transfer and commercialization of technology. In its presentation, APCTT-ESCAP emphasized that TBIs and science/technology park are key components of an NIS, besides being key factors in the global innovation index.

    See Annex I for the programme and presentations.

    Conclusions and Recommendations

    • TBIs are a part of NIS and do not operate in isolation. TBI is a proven and market-driven institutional mechanism to facilitate commercialization of ideas, innovation and R&D outputs. It is important for a TBI to develop its own incubatee selection criteria, depending on its type, such as manufacturing, technology-based, industry-specific, social enterprise, climate innovation, mixed-use, etc.
    • While evaluating an idea or technology, it is important to consider its potential or latent need or application and market dimensions, including target end-users, revenue generation model and others. It is also important to assess at every stage of technology innovation (basic research/technology, research to prove feasibility, technology development, pilot-scale production, launch and operations) about its readiness level with respect to its benefit level.
    • The process of incubation is dynamic and it involves mentoring, counselling, marketing, business matching and others. It is therefore important for a TBI to plan and identify the nature of incubation services that could be provided in-house and those that could be provided through networking, partnering and outsourcing.
    • It was recognized that it would not be possible to provide in-house services to meet all the technology and business requirements of incubates. Therefore, it is important for the managers of TBIs to synergize and/or have linkages with the service providers like, laboratory facilities, engineering, technical and marketing consultants, standards and testing, patent attorneys, etc.
    • A TBI has to develop a business plan for a minimum period of five years and obtain financial resources (grant or loan). Its budget has to be developed based on the real income and expected spending. Operations of a TBI have to be strictly according to the budget plan.
    • Developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region have to develop a policy framework to promote and strengthen TBIs as a mechanism for promoting venture business and for the commercialization of technology innovations and R&D outputs. These policy instruments have to be evaluated periodically and new ones developed to meet the changing requirements of technology-based ventures and its market.
    • In order to strengthen the culture of technology innovation, there is a need to adopt a rewarding and incentivizing mechanism for technology innovators from various segments of the society.

    Participants
    Eight national and international resource persons from APCTT-ESCAP, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand shared their knowledge and experiences, while nearly 50 managers and stakeholders of TBIs in Indonesia participated in the workshop.

    See Annex II for the list of participants.