External market guidelines for incubated companies: internationalization predictors
Incubation affects company internationalization positively. This study aimed at analysing the external market guidelines for companies installed in business incubators. Relevant recent literature on management research was reviewed for this study. Although some studies reflected on the entry of start-ups in external markets, no relevant literature was found regarding the role of incubators in the successful internationalization of incubated companies. In order to fill the gap found in literature, this study focused on assessing what measures taken by Portuguese incubators and what incubated companies’ profiles would be internationalization predictors from the entrepreneur standpoint. The survey created for this study was inspired by the studies of Engelman and Fracasso (2013) and was answered by entrepreneurs of incubated companies based in Portugal. Results suggest that specific external market entry predictors identified by entrepreneurs are company characteristics such as: CEO gender, number of employees and number of foreign team members. This study shows that entrepreneurs are not aware of what incubator measures are internationalization predictors and believe the internal potential of each start-up is the reason behind this successful market entry. Also, these findings bring up a debate about how incubators can adapt their offer to match such predictors.