Early research into business incubators focused on describing how they were operated and what activities were undertaken to assist in the survival of tenant firms. The only measures of effective operation were based upon the economic agenda of those sponsoring the incubators, that is, whether jobs were created and firms successfully developed beyond the protected incubator environment. The theoretical considerations used by researchers were, as a consequence, limited largely to either economic or fmancial models of performance. Much can be learned, however, from the management literature, which examines performance through organisational theory. It is suggested that further research into incubator effectiveness be undertaken using a framework that incorporates both the actors (incubator sponsors, managers and entrepreneurial tenants) and the earliest stages of new firm development from idea to start-up.