Keywords: SSD, strategic sustainable development, backcasting, sustainability principles, entrepreneurship, business incubators, The Natural Step, sustainable product development, start-ups, business planning, entrepreneurship
Introducing strategic sustainable development in a business incubator
This qualitative action research explores integration of Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD) at Inova business incubator (Karlstad, Sweden). The objective was to answer how SSD could be integrated into the processes at Inova and how Inova staff's and entrepreneurs' understanding of sustainability demonstrably evolve after exposure to SSD. Apart from general research methods, SSD methods and tools were used with three entrepreneurs and business incubator staff. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) and the Templates for Sustainable Product Development (TSPD) approach were central to the study. A new incubation process integrating SSD was created. Although the outcome is specific to Inova, it is general enough for other assistance organisations to gain insight from. In conclusion, SSD should be integrated as early as possible in the business planning of start-up companies. Organisations with a mission of assisting entrepreneurs have an important role to play.