Doing it right, but getting it wrong: Best practices for refugee focused incubators

Arielle Badger Newman, Lisa Jones Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In response to the rising numbers of refugees worldwide, many aid organizations suggest entrepreneurship as a preferred route to refugee economic self-reliance in a new country. Incubators have long provided assistance to nascent entrepreneurs and are utilized worldwide to offer support to entrepreneurial businesses. Yet, little research examines refugee-focused incubators or considers refugee-specific constraints. Herein, we argue that refugee status has specific implications for how refugee entrepreneurs accumulate and deploy human, social and financial capital. Thus, refugee status affects the types of services transitioning refugees require from incubators. This paper considers refugee-specific resources and uses a case study approach to investigate resource provision in a refugee-focused incubator in the United States. We find that even when an incubator follows best practices in terms of service provision, it may still miss the mark in terms of meeting key resource needs of refugees. Specifically, this paper illuminates how refugee entrepreneurs need (more) incubator support in terms of (1) addressing mental health in service provision, (2) building community within the incubator and (3) balancing financial tradeoffs associated with culturally-based businesses. Findings are novel when tied to a resource-based lens and help build theory regarding entrepreneurship among less-served populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2150019
JournalJournal of Developmental Entrepreneurship
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial capital
  • Human capital
  • Incubator
  • Refugee
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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