Perspectives of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Transiting From Entrepreneurial Intentions Into Start-Ups Through Situated Learning Within Business Incubators

  • Toochukwu Ukaejiofo

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis aims at providing new insight about university business incubation and how University Based Incubators (UBIs) host an environment for situated learning. UBIs are part of the family of business incubators which have been developed as a strategy to respond to the economic challenges of nascent entrepreneurs. They have evolved over time and are found in different areas of the society including institutions of higher learning. Business incubators that are found in universities and institutions of higher learning are referred to as UBIs. The University Based Incubator promotes not just the growth of start-ups but also the development of economies, thus, the significance of this study is to develop a model and to offer new insight about the importance of physical space during the incubation of start-ups in a business incubator environment.

The study draws on a qualitative research based on data collected from interviews and observations. Interviews were conducted amongst incubator staff, incubator tenants/users and entrepreneurship educators in the United Kingdom. Observations were made within UHatch, which is the business incubator for Glasgow Caledonian University. The observations and interviews conducted in this study cover a research strategy mixture of ethnography and case study. The ethnographic strategy was applied within UHatch, which is a culture sharing group and representative of the body of business incubators, through observations and interviews with incubator tenants/users to obtain data for the study while the case study strategy was applied to the United Kingdom from the approach of embedded cases whereby was collated through interviews with incubator managers and/or entrepreneurship tutors.

Findings from this study indicate that University Based Incubators can be categorised as those with space and without space according to their physical attributes. University Based Incubator model without space requires intermediaries in the form of incubator agents for nascent entrepreneurs to establish connections with social capitals. Whereas nascent entrepreneurs in University Based Incubators with space are less likely to require intermediaries in the form of incubator agents for them to establish connection with social capitals. The ease at which connections are established within incubators with work spaces through social interactions makes learning for the development of start-ups by start-up owners efficient. These work spaces that impact on nascent entrepreneur learning are linked with the situational context of the situated learning theory.

The recommendations are that Universities and Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the United Kingdom (UK) should establish business incubators with work space in their respective institutions since it supports the direct establishment of connection with social capitals by nascent entrepreneurs through social interactions which is necessary for encouraging the development of start-ups. Social interaction within incubator work spaces between nascent entrepreneurs in the process of creating start-ups facilitate learning that is applied for the development of start-ups. This university incubator model is recommended for adoption in the creation of business incubators across every region of the Nigerian economy by public-private partnerships and private institutions in order to ensure that nascent entrepreneurs with an intention to create a start-up are adequately supported by incubators in their process of development.
Date of Award2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorBruce Wood (Supervisor) & Anne Smith (Supervisor)

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