Assessing the Current State of University-based Business Incubators (UBIS) in Canada and the UAE


  • Naveed Yasin Canadian University Dubai, Dubai, UAE
  • Sayed Abdul Majid Gilani Canadian University Dubai, Dubai, UAE



university, business incubator, United Arab Emirates, Canada, comparative


There is a dearth of published research that explores UBIs from a comparative dimension across geographical and institutionalised contexts that assesses the current state and scope of UBI activities. This paper explores the current state of University-based Business Incubators (UBIs) both in the United Arab Emirates and Canada underpinned by a comparative case analysis approach. This study utilises both secondary and primary research data that was obtained through desk-based secondary research and qualitative methods of inquiry (semi-structured interviews) with UBI managers, academics, and support staff that were used to develop each case. This informed the development of 18 cases of UBIs in the United Arab Emirates and Canada (9 each, respectively). The data was collected through VoIP (Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol) and telephone during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2021 to February 2022. The findings of the study illustrate that the Canadian context offers similar provisions of services for business incubators (BIs) but in comparison, the UAE-based university UBIs are much younger and are transitioning towards the development of various business and enterprise initiatives in Higher Education and are also focused on driving student recruitment using this provision. The value of this
study is inherent in its comparative approach between two under-studied and represented empirical geographies (i.e., Canada and the UAE), the findings also indicate the divergence and specialisms adopted by institutions in the UAE based on the various provisions for the governmental vision 2030, and the empirical development of showcasing these initiatives to be novel for the efficacy of UBIs.