This article investigates how business incubators’ various support forms affect subsequent firm performance. We delimit our study to activities that protect (buffer) nascent organizations from their demanding environments and apply an extended buffering theory lens. Using data from the entire population of business incubators in Sweden from 2005 to 2015, and the performance of all their graduated firms in terms of revenues and job creation up to 2017, we test five buffering hypotheses, pertaining to incubation time, financial support, legitimacy, coaching, and total resources. The results mainly span from substantially positive to neutral effects of additional buffering on start-up performance, and we propose an inter-organizational buffering concept to help capture the specificities of BI sheltering support.

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