A research project on incubator performance

The PEPSI research project aims to increase the understanding of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of incubators, their functioning, main support networks and structures, the practices used and effectiveness in sourcing new entrepreneurial projects.

This doctoral research project is carried out in partnership with the Nubbo Incubator of the Occitania region, in connection with the PEPITES national entrepreneurship support program and the TBSeeds incubator. The PEPSI project received support from the French Occitania Region following their call for Doctoral grant projects.

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Sourcing and Performance of Incubators: an Ecosystem Approach

The objective of the project is to contribute to the efficiency of the support system and to regional economic development, by studying four concepts that have never been treated simultaneously. Its aims to align entrepreneurial sourcing:

  • during the pre-incubation phase
  • as an important factor to study the impact on incubator performance
  • to promote the sustainability of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and
  • regional economic development.

A doctoral research project

The research is conducted in a close collaboration between TBS Education, Toulouse School of Management and the Toulouse 1 Capitole University within the framework of the Doctoral School of Management Sciences – TSM Doctoral Program. The doctorate student, André NANA is enrolled in the Doctoral School of Management – TSM Doctoral Program and academically mentored by TBS Professors Michaël LAVIOLETTE and Christina THEODORAKI.

Challenges, results and impact of the PEPSI project

Interview with André NANA

Andre Nana

André NANA – Doctoral student supervised by Michaël LAVIOLETTE and Christina THEODORAKI, Researchers at the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Lab at TBS

– What is the subject of your research?

The objective of the “PEPSI” doctoral research project is to analyse the upstream processes of incubators, namely the detection and selection of projects/entrepreneurs before their involvement in the so-called incubation support cycle. This subject is of prime importance because, in addition to the quality of their support, incubators are also concerned about the volume and competence of upstream project leaders. However, little work has been done on this pre-incubation phase, in particular the strategies of the incubators in interaction with the pre-incubation players. By adopting a theoretical approach through the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the research aims to study incubator strategies and their impact on performance in an environment with a diversity of support actors. To do so, it proposes the concept of “entrepreneurial sourcing” as a set of strategies bringing together the different processes of detection and selection of projects/entrepreneurs in the pre-incubation ecosystem.

– What progress has your research made so far?

To date, an in-depth case study is underway at Nubbo with interviews, participating observations and access to secondary data. After one year of work, this study highlights the coherence and dynamics of the pre-incubation ecosystem as an important factor for business creation. This research was presented during the INSPEER Workshop in November 2019 at EDC Paris. The first results of this research will be presented during the CIFEPME (International Francophone Congress on Entrepreneurship and SMEs) from 18 to 21 May 2021 in Nice and during the ICSB (International Council for Small Business) in July 2021 in Paris.

– How does the funding support your research?

A doctoral scholarship from the Occitania Region has enabled the recruitment of a doctoral student in order to promote the development of entrepreneurship in the Occitania Region, within the framework of a close and privileged partnership with the Nubbo regional incubator.

In addition, this project benefits from a close collaboration between the University Toulouse 1 Capitole and TBS Education within the framework of the Toulouse School of Management Doctoral Program.

Partner Testimonials

Anne-Laure CHARBONNIER, Director of NUBBO

Anne Laure Charbonnier Directrice Incubateur Nubbo

– What is the impact of this research for NUBBO, the regional incubator of the Occitania Region?

Logo Nubbo

As the operator of the incubation/acceleration offer of La Cité for the Occitanie Region, Nubbo has ambitious objectives for the development of its activity in order to reach, by the end of 2021, a permanent volume of around fifty startup projects annually, compared to around twenty per year until 2018. In this context, the “PEPSI” project should allow for a better understanding of the ecosystem of innovative business creation in the Occitania Region and promote a reinforced cooperation with players who are likely to bring about the emergence and/or orientation towards Nubbo of new projects/entrepreneurs corresponding to our selection criteria. »


Christina THEODORAKI c.theodoraki@tbs-education.fr