High-tech incubators help support brand new technology businesses
in the critical first years. And more and more of these incubators are hatching
all over the world.
Your great idea for a high-tech business isn't just of interest to you.
It's also interesting to hundreds of high-tech business incubators in North
America. They specialize in helping young companies get a strong start. Then,
in one to three years, these fledgling companies can fly off on their own.
Incubators offer office space, equipment, hands-on management assistance,
financial help and advice under a shared roof. In turn, for-profit incubators
get equity and royalties in the company. Incubators may get a big payoff in
a company's successful IPO (initial public offering) or big sale.
Incubators are everywhere. The National Business Incubation Association
(NBIA) has more than 1,900 members in over 60 different countries.
Traditionally, business incubators were run by nonprofit
organizations and universities. But lawyers, accountants and other business
professionals are eager to get in on the action.
High-tech incubators help not only entrepreneurs, but also the whole community.
"A technology incubator can offer a growing community many things. It offers
a means for high-tech companies to grow in the community rather than moving
to a larger center," says Sarah Morris. She is the market development manager
of InNOVAcorp's business incubation unit.
"It thereby offers employment and a larger tax base. As well, about 80
percent of graduating incubating companies stay in the community. So, when
a client firm graduates from an incubation facility, it will most likely move
to the industrial park, into downtown or build its own facility.
"There are many young industries that could take advantage of the facilitating
role incubators play," Morris adds.
"If incubators help companies get to market faster, they have the added
appeal of accelerating the growth of entire industries in an area. Some of
the hotter industries include life sciences, agricultural biotech and multimedia."
Lisa Ison is president of the New Century Venture Center. She says that
incubators, not only those with a high-tech focus, are a vital part of any
community's economic development plan.
"Incubators encourage entrepreneurship by providing affordable and flexible
space options and by a lot of hand-holding to start-up companies. Start-ups
provide jobs, contribute to the tax base and oftentimes help to revitalize
a local economy."
The rapid growth of incubators is certainly newsworthy. Yet, just like
new businesses, incubators may have shaky starts. It's difficult to predict
if this rapid growth will eventually end with the survival of the fittest.
The incubators that do survive are the ones that will build strong, successful
companies. The next giant IT company just may have its humble beginnings in
an incubator somewhere right now.
National Business Incubation Association
Insightful articles and info about business incubators
Technology Incubator Resources
Plenty of useful links