iBusiness, 2010, 2, 326-332
doi:10.4236/ib.2010.24042 Published Online December 2010 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/ib)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. iB
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the
Framework of the Territorial Network of Support to the
Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
Jaime de Pablo Valenciano1, Juan Uribe Toril1, Jean Pierre Levy Mangin2
1University of Almería, Almería, Spain; 2University of Québec, Québec, Canada.
E-mail: {jdepablo, juribe}@ual.es, Jean-Pierre.Levy-Mangin@uqo.ca
Received April 16th, 2010; revised June 19th, 2010; accepted September 12th, 2010.
The local government of Andalusia runs several public programmes, aimed at encouraging new business start-ups, and
is responsible for stimulating the local economy. It is known that companies that have followed a business training
programme and have the support of a specialized technical advisory service with a lower rate of failure. This
presentation analyses the programmes that make up the map of existing mechanisms. One of these shall be studied in
depth: The “Business Schools” programme; part of the Territorial Entrepreneur Support Network. “Business Schools”
came into being in the early nineties and were designed to set up social economy companies in rural districts and
encourage the settlement of people in those areas. The doctrine that indicates the synergies existing between companies
that coexist in certain surroundings is extensive. A series of commercial links can be seen to be generated between
companies included in this programme, harnessing the value, not only of this type of programme, but also of the
companies themselves. We can therefore conclude that incubation in these centres provides the companies involved
with certain common characteristics, which result in collaboration amongst them and a healthy tendency to participate
in business cooperation projects.
Keywords: Andalusia, Local Economy, Business Schools Programme, Entrepreneur
1. Introduction
There is no unanimity of criteria when we refer con-
ceptually to the process of business accommodation and
several definitions have been proposed by international
bodies in order to clarify the term business incubator.
Having the assessment of a specialised consultant, to-
gether with the synergies that are produced between com-
panies located in the business creation centres (in-cuba-
tors), gives a competitive advantage which encourages
companies to form business groups or clusters.
The birth of the support process to companies through
incubation in business nurseries was initiated primarily
in the United States. This phenomenon was developed
later in the European Union, linked to either the public
sector or universities and contained on numerous occa-
sions within R+D+i programmes.
The differences between the North American and Eu-
ropean models are noticeable, although their purpose and
evolution converge, providing the registered companies
with a greater level of business survival.
The first precedents of business incubators were created
in the University environment in the United States,
specifically in 1942, in Ithaca, New York. The Students
Agencies Inc. was created to give an appropriate physical
space where the student born companies began to work.
In 1946 the American Research Development was
created in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) in order to give support to emerging companies in
this centre of the MIT, using the institution buildings.
The phenomenon multiplied during the 1950s in the
Silicon Valley region, under the auspices of the University
of Stanford and with the backing of the Technology Park
which at that moment was beginning to see the light of
day (Stanford Research Park).
This decade saw the transferral of the technology de-
veloped in the University to corporations, and the creation
of new technology intensive businesses, principally in the
electronics sector, was developed, promoting a spirit of
enterprise between students and researchers.
Public funding for areas in which the university-
industry binomial came together was substantial.
Neither must it be forgotten that the main engine of
incubation at that time was the experimentation in the
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. iB
search for new technologies, and in the midst of the cold
war, that search was focused mainly on the armament
and military sectors.
The first private experience of incubation, outside a
university environment, was found in Batavia, a town
close to New York.
The American company, Massey Ferguson Co. was
declared bankrupt and left more than 2,000 workers
unemployed. The buildings of this company, which
covered over 250,000 square metres, were too extensive
to be managed by just one company. This nursery con-
centrated mainly on companies in the industrial sector.
The first company to move into these facilities was a
chicken breeder and before long the similarities between
poultry incubation and business incubation emerged. It
would seem that this coincidence is the reason for the
term being used with this specific meaning.
In the 1970s, The National Science Foundation founded
the first Technology Based incubator. The Small Business
Administration created a programme of incubators and the
National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) also
came into being.
However, the real business incubator boom did not
happen until the mid 1980s. The financing of incubators
in the USA is usually mixed (public and private finance),
although, as we have seen, in the beginning the pro-
grammes were paid for by the public sector. In Europe,
the incubators have multiplied rapidly and have been, in
most cases, made up of not-for-profit organisations [1].
According to a study by the OCDE in 1997, only 13% of
the incubators would be able to maintain their level of
operations without public funding, 52% would be able to
continue but with reduced services and 35% would not
be able to maintain their current configuration without
this type of financial support.
It was in the 1990s when the incubators began to turn
to innovation sectors, concentrating on the creation of a
new type of information technology business, the so-
called “dot-com” industry, or emerging sectors such as
biotechnology. Similarly, virtual incubators began to
appear, where the term business accommodation came to
refer to the provision of a space on the net, instead of a
physical location.
Since their appearance, business nurseries have
managed to provide an incentive for relations between
universities and companies, generating models of urban
They have served to establish support networks and
exchange of products, renovated buildings and urban
areas, promote investment, consolidate companies and
have given help to entrepreneurs who committed to the
future [2].
2. Business Incubator
2.1. Concept
The following definitions of the business incubator can
be highlighted:
The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA)
defines business incubators as an economic development
tool designed to accelerate the growth and success of
enterprising companies through an arsenal of resources
and support services to the company. The main objective
of a business incubator is for companies to leave the
programme independent and financially profitable.
UK Business Incubation refers to it as a dynamic
business development process. It is a term which covers
a wide variety of processes that help to reduce the
percentage of problems a company faces in its early
years and accelerates the growth of companies which
have the potential to generate substantial employment
and sales. The main characteristic of business incubators
is that they have the ability to facilitate the grouping of
small working units, to which they provide an instructive
atmosphere, and give support to those entrepreneurs in
the start-up phase during their early years. Incubators
provide three main elements to the development of
successful businesses: entrepreneurs and a learning
environment, easy access to mentors and investors and
finally, visibility and placement in the market.
The European Business Incubation Centres Network
points out that incubators are support organisations for
Small and Medium Sized Innovation Companies and
entrepreneurs. They are set up by the main economic
operators in an area or region of public interest, in order
to offer a range of comprehensive management services
and support projects carried out by the small and medium
companies, thus contributing to local and regional
A common feature of all business incubators is that
they are endowed with a space dedicated to the transfer
of companies, encouraging the creation and consolida-
tion of such companies.
These centres are usually characterised by their special
ties with the university environment, specialisation in
technology based companies and special attention to
specific training.
The model to follow in Europe is that of North America,
although we must take into account the intrinsic differ-
ences of the European Union and the lateness of the in-
troduction of new Technologies [3].
When we consider business accommodation, we must
take into account that there exist a multitude of terms
which refer us to this phenomenon.
In fact, the term incubator in the United Kingdom is
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
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identified as much with nurseries (where the company
still has to be formed) as with Business Centres; however,
in France, the term incubator is only synonymous with
business project nurseries (known as pre-incubators in
In this way, and in a wider sense, we can correlate the
terms incubator, seed-bed and Business Centres as
similar identifying factors.
The use of the terminology applied to these pro-
grammes (incubation) is not a trivial question. The name
used to define this phenomenon is used in natural science
as much as in the business world, representing a series of
adjectives which describe: security, protection, accelera-
tion, nutrition [4].
Technopoles, industrial estates, incubators, and sci-
ence parks, can all be characterized by high rates of en-
trepreneurial activity and high-tech start-ups. However,
they have often been accused of being artificial and ex-
pensive without contributing to the local economy. Evi-
dence shows that such planned forms of enclaves create
more global than local linkages [5].
2.2. Types of Incubation
There are two types of incubator, according to the sector
on which they focus or the services which offered:
Classic or General Incubators: Also called business
centres, accommodating small to medium com-
panyies, providing them with the basic infrastruc-
ture for their development at the initial stage of
their activity.
Industrial Nurseries: Contribute to local economic
development through the creation of small industries.
Export Centres: Dedicated to international market-
ing. The usual services are normally offered to-
gether with tax incentives.
Virtual Incubators: Offer services in a virtual format,
connecting companies and clients through technolo-
gical platforms or other telecommunication media.
Micro-enterprise Incubators: Promote the creation
of companies in severely economically challenged
areas, but with little possibility to develop into the
mid to long terms. These areas are regions with
high unemployment and subsistence problems, and
which the private sector finds difficult to reach.
Technological Incubators: Situated in Technology
Parks, specialising in R+D+i and in providing support
to Technology Based Companies (TBC) (Table 1).
The services which are offered to the incubated com-
panies in these centres will vary depending on the char-
acteristics of the managing body.
Tutoring (mentoring) in financial matters, marketing
or specialised technical assistance is used in order to
Table 1. What’s a technological incubator.
Example: Business International Incubator
Technology level Low and high
Skills Medium
Innovation Some
Trust Little
Cooperation Little
Competition Medium
Size of firm SME
Exports Some
Learning High
Source: Own data and UNCTAD [6]
provide a greater value to the incubator, in terms of long
term business survival [7], although, the services offered
are usually of a more basic and elementary assistance:
renting of space, distribution of information, legal, tech-
nical and economic assessment, courses for entrepre-
neurs and little more [8].
For their part, the services most valued by the entre-
preneurs are the initial savings on equipment, the com-
pany image and savings in the cost of rental and services.
[9] and [10]
The time spent in an incubator provides clear advan-
tages, above all during the initial stages of the company,
allowing the entrepreneur to be less concerned about
administrative, legal or financial problems and to be able
to concentrate on his or her own business development
[11]. Incubators can be defined as facilitating agents in
the innovation process [12].
3. The “Business School” Model as
Incubator in Rural Environments
3.1. Origins and Evolution
The “Business Schools” were born in 1990 under the
Decree 131/1990 of the 8th of May, from the Regional
Ministry of Development and Employment, in order to
regulate the programme of “Business Schools” for Young
people’s Co-operatives and the Order of 3rd of July 1990
which developed it with the purpose of securing real op-
portunities for the integration of young people into the
This regulatory framework was based on training-
promotion of employment programmes to encourage
young people’s co-operatives and dynamism of econo-
mic resources, promoted by local corporations or non-
profit making bodies (generally Town Halls).
In short, the mentioned bodies provided the site to the
“Business Schools” (intended for the promotion of youth
co-operatives), for the construction or adaptation of the
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
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centres facilities via the application of a grant to the then
Regional Ministry of Development and Employment [13].
The facilities of the “Business Schools” which had
started consisted of a minimum of four work centres for
business incubation (generally industrial premises) and a
management and assessment centre where a technician
was responsible for training and consultancy. The Busi-
ness Centres began their territorial expansion with a
network of 40 centres distributed throughout the whole
of Andalusia [14].
The funds for contracting personnel, as well as that of a
company specialising in support to the “Business School”
were transferred quarterly, previously verified. In the first
modification to the model of the “Business School”, five
years after its start up, the term “young people’s co-opera-
tive” disappeared and the companies that had been incu-
bated had to be legally constituted as co-operatives or pub-
lic limited companies, consisting of a majority of members
under the age of 30 (it had previously been exclusively for
those under the age of 25), making the accommodation of
the self-employed possible.
The Andalusian Business School Foundation, which
was created by the local government, will be the
recipient of the overall grant aimed at these centres
which will allow greater administrative flexibility and it
will be responsible for the operational and economic
control and management of the programme.
In 2001 there was a new turn of events. New centres
were opened across the region, until there were more
than 150 centres on the map, some without the capacity
to incubate companies, acting as assessment and business
processing offices.
In 2003, the “Business Schools”, until that moment
specialists in associated work co-operatives and work
societies, moved on to legal assessment and tutelage.
As they have no equivalent, the “Business Schools”
are classified according to their given infrastructure. As
obligatory infrastructure, they all have an administration
centre at their disposal, and technical and training sup-
port services to the companies [15].
Depending on the number of work centres linked to
the office, that is to say, to the premises or offices dedi-
cated to business accommodation, “Business Schools”
with the capacity for incubation can be levels A, B and C,
(the object of this study) and those that only have the
minimum structure available, level D.
In 2007, the model has already gone through its final
adjustment. The Innovation and Modernisation Plan for
Andalusia, promoted by the local government, takes into
account a series of proposals and strategic lines with the
aim of strengthening the business culture, encouraging the
creation of new companies and helping the entrepreneur.
The creation of a Territorial Support Network to the
Entrepreneur is needed in this context, with the intention
of integrating already existing regional support pro-
grammes to entrepreneurs in Andalusia (“Business
Schools”, Support Centres to Business Development, vir-
tual nurseries…) as well as support infrastructures for
entrepreneurial activity and other specialised assessment
tools. The programme of “Business Schools” will go on
to accommodate and lead this network.
3.2. The Internationalisation of the “Business
School” Programme
The success of the programmes managed by the Founda-
tion, with important repercussions in terms of generation
of stable employment and local economic development,
has aroused the interest of not only other (Spanish) Auto-
nomous Communities, but also other countries within the
European Union.
Through its integration in the European Networks for
the development of common projects and the exchange
of experiences in the community setting (remembering to
include the term network in the name of the foundation)
different international projects have been promoted.
In the same way, this success has allowed its exporta-
tion to Central America (El Salvador, Panama and Gua-
temala) and Morocco, where “Business Schools” are
being built and already working through programmes of
co-operation for development established by the Local
Government of Andalusia [16].
In Panama, the “Business School” programme is de-
veloped by the Ministry of Employment and Labour De-
velopment with the technical and financial assistance of
the Regional Government of Andalusia, and two schools
in the towns of Colon and San Miguelito have been made
available for the young people of Panama, in order to
generate productive employment through the creation of
The construction of the Schools was completed on the
14th of June 2000 and its modus operandi is exactly the
same as the Andalusian programme.
In El Salvador, the Local Development and Social In-
vestment Fund (LDSIF), has operated the “Business
Schools” (encouraged and financed by the Regional
Government of Andalusia) since May 1997 in the cities
of Sonsonate and Nejapa.
The initial tangible result of this co-operation has been
six micro-enterprises, together giving employment to
more than 40 Salvadorians.
Ever since the project was conceived, the general objec-
tive was to contribute to the rise in productive material of
El Salvador facilitating the decentralisation of production,
the creation of co-operatives and viable micro-enterprises.
The strength of the “Business Schools” is their teaching
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. iB
method, which consists of learning on the job; that is to
say, a vocational professional training, whose exercises
and practical tasks are: to integrate co-operatives and mi-
cro-companies, present economically and financially vi-
able technical business projects.
Also, in Guatemala steps have been taken to install
another centre of this type in the town of Zacapa.
In Morocco, two other “Business Schools” are cur-
rently working in the cities of Beni Makada, in the prov-
ince of Tangiers and Sidi el Mandri, in Tetuan, with an
overall budget of one million euros, 79% of which is
provided by the Local Government of Andalusia.
3.3. Degrees of Links of the Companies with the
Companies become contractually linked to the “Business
Schools” by way of affiliation, being able to profit from
the technical assistance offered by them and, in some
cases, to be transferred from the modules or premises
allocated for business incubation.
Depending on their characteristics and the services
applied for, the accepted companies are classified as:
- Comprehensive Companies.
These generally take the shape of a partnership, gen-
erators of employment at the moment of affiliation to the
programme and whose economic activity takes advan-
tage of the endogenous resources implementing local
They enjoy all the rights and obligations stipulated by
the programme. A formative itinerary is prepared for
them and included in their affiliation contract for the
duration of the programme. This method of affiliation is
obligatory for incubated companies.
- Associated Companies.
Companies which are not accommodated in the facili-
ties of the “Business Schools” but wish to be linked con-
tractually in order to have access to technical assistance
and training are included within this category. The
follow-up that is carried out is reduced and an initial
formative plan is not made, although they are able to
participate in this type of work.
- Support Companies.
These are entrepreneurs or companies covered by any
information or administration needs which may be either
specific or periodic.
They do not have affiliation contracts with the “Busi-
ness Schools” Programme, nor are they covered by the
regulation order.
3.4. Incubated Companies vs. Assessed
Companies; Differences in Progress
(Variance Analysis)
The database used for the study contains a total of 14,580
entries up to the 31st of December 2009, between the
eight provinces of Andalusia.
The items correspond to companies or business
projects, regardless of the affiliation process, even those
which did not complete their application or applied to
leave the programme.
To purge the data and work with a representative
sample, a series of filters were employed.
An initial selection was made in which only com-
panies whose registered offices were in the Province of
Almería were chosen, reducing the sample from 14,580
entries to 1,534 possible questioned users.
Those entries marked as “invalid” were eliminated,
which implies that the collected data does not give the true
picture because of a system error and the entrepreneurs
who did not fulfil the procedures for company creation.
The consequence was a reduction in the number of
surviving entries to 1,475.
In order to restrict ourselves to a homogenous group of
companies registered in the programme, we must eli-
minate those who do not benefit from all the services that
a School can offer (support companies).
The number of companies was narrowed down to a
total of 287.
We cannot consider those companies which have
applied to leave the programme or those whose Technical
Manager considers ready to leave.
Consequently, we are left with 240 companies with the
potential to participate in the survey.
The final filter chosen is the timescale. With the aim of
not limiting ourselves to the timescale of the programme
(three years), we have selected a longer period of four
years, 2003-2006, the final number of companies suitable
for participating in the survey being 142.74.6% of these
companies agreed to answer a set of questions.
The sector of activities of the companies (Table 2) is
divided between industry and services. The reason for
this is twofold; firstly, because the allocation of indus-
trial premises determines that the applicants are indus-
trial and therefore the “Business Schools” have paid
more attention to projects dedicated to industry.
Secondly, the local administration upon which the
“Business Schools” depend has had responsibility with
regard to industry.
In order to determine the size of the companies studied we
have looked at two variables: the number of workers (Table
3) and the average turnover in the final year (Table 4).
With regard to the number of workers, including part-
ners, the average was placed in a band of approximately
3 to 5 workers.
As for turnover, we encounter a wide range, from 0 to
300,000 euros, not obtaining an equal criteria, which indi-
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. iB
cates that there are companies which are starting their ac-
tivity and having a poor turnover facing established com-
panies with high levels of revenue and capital. Through
variance analysis we intend to verify whether significant
differences in turnover exist between the integrated and
affiliated companies, which only receive assessment and
/or training, during the three years that they spend in the
Regarding the purged database of companies (106
firms), the accommodated companies have been separated
from those which have not received incubation but have
been assessed by the network technicians (associated
companies) and the turnover data of both groups has been
collected. It is to be expected that affiliation with accom-
modation in a “Business School” improves results.
In order to prove this we calculate the intervals of
confidence (Table 5 and Graph 1) a make a variance
analysis of the data. Intervals are calculated by the LSD
As can be seen, the average of growth in the 3 years of
registration to the programme for the incubated companies
(3.82%) is far superior to the average of the other compa-
nies (0.31%).
The variance analysis endorses the direct observation
(Table 6): significant differences exist between the two
groups, so that we can conclude that the incubated com-
panies improve their results in comparison with the free
4. Conclusions
We would like to know if relevant economic differences
exist between companies which benefit from business
assessment and training provided by a technical assessor
with respect to those which receive this treatment as well
as the allocation of space in the incubator.
First of all we check if the group of companies stud-
ied is consistent with respect to the variables: sector
of activity, company size and number of workers.
We discovered that the group is consistent within
two parameters: more than 70% of the companies
belonging to the industrial or services sectors (in-
cluding new technologies) and with respect to the
number of employees, more than 88% have fewer
than 6 workers.
However, regarding the levels of turnover we find a
wider dispersal.
Table 2. Sector of activity.
FrequencySample percentageValid percentageAccumulated percentage
Agriculture 2 1.88 1.88 1.89
Food 3 2.83 2.83 4.72
Commerce 4 3.77 3.77 8.49
Construction 21 19.81 19.81 28.30
Industry 32 30.18 30.18 58.48
Services 34 32.07 32.07 90.55
New Technologies 10 9.43 9.43
TOTAL 106 100 100 100
Source: Own data.
Table 3. Number of employees.
Frequency Percentage Valid percentage Accumulated percentage
1 - 3 45 42.45 42.45 42.45
4 - 6 49 46.22 46.22 88.67
7 - 10 7 6.60 6.60 95.27
More than 10 5 4.71 4.71
TOTAL 106 100 100 100
Source: Own data.
Table 4. Turnover.
FrequencyPercentageValid percentageAccumulated percentage
0 - 30.000 € 19 17.92 18.26 18.26
30,001€ - 60,000€ 21 19.81 20.19 38.45
60,001€ - 150,000€ 36 33.96 34.61 73.06
15,000€ - 300,000€ 16 15.09 15.38 88.44
300,001€ - 600,000€ 9 8.49 8.65 97.09
Over 600,000€ 3 2.75 2.88
Losses 2 1.88
TOTAL 106 100 100
Source: Own data.
The “Business Schools” Programme, within the Framework of the Territorial Network of
Support to the Entrepreneur in Andalusia (Spain)
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Table 5. Description of the data and intervals.
Type Cases Average Typical
variation Lower limitUpper
1 18 3.84333 0.504973 3.135 4.551
2 88 0.315795 0.228383 -0.004 0.636
TOTAL 106 0.914811
(1) Incubated companies. (2) Other companies.
Source: Own data.
(1) Incubated Companies. (2) Other Companies.
Intervals calculated by LSD method. Source: Own data.
Graph 1. Representation of intervals.
Table 6. Description of the data and intervals.
Sum of
Tables g.l Sq.
Measured. F-Ratio P-Value
Between Groups 185.949 1 185.949 40.51 0.0000
Within Groups 477.356 104 4.589
Total 663.304 105
g.l. = degrees of freedom.
Source: Own data.
Separating the incubated companies from the non-
incubated companies, we confirmed, by means of
variance analysis that, a significant difference does
exists between both groups with respect to the
levels of turnover during a period of three years.
We can state that this study confirms the hypothesis
that the business incubation process has direct economic
repercussions on the turnover of the accommodated
companies in contrast to those which do not receive ac-
“Business Schools” are a consistent tool for giving
technical support to newly-formed companies.
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