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Incubator Round Up

March 30, 2011

Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators range from Google's selection of Cape Town, South Africa to launch a pilot incubator supporting technology entrepreneurs that it hopes to replicate globally to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to create a statewide business incubator focusing on workforce training. Select announcements from across the globe are highlighted below.

Google will set up a new technology incubator called Umbono in Cape Town, South Africa, reports Memeburn. Startup companies selected for inclusion will receive six months of free office space and bandwidth, in addition to $25,000 to $50,000 in funding from a panel of angel investors and Google. The goal is to replicate the model in other parts of the globe. The name means "vision," "sight" or "idea" in Zulu, the article states.

Three major energy companies announced a joint venture earlier this year to support clean tech energy companies by establishing a green technology incubator. General Electric, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips will commit $300 million over the next four years to the Energy Technology Ventures enterprise. Funding is geared toward 30 startup and early stage technology companies located in North America, Europe and Israel.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced earlier this year his intentions to create a statewide business incubator focusing on worker training as part of a new plan to realign the state's economic development efforts.

The University of Texas at El Paso recently received a $200,000 state grant to establish a clean energy incubator to help develop clean energy technologies and form and expand new companies, reports the El Paso Times. The incubator eventually will become part of the broader Paso del Norte Regional Technology Incubator, which also focuses on biomedical, border security, defense, aerospace, and advanced manufacturing industries.

An old police department building in Escondido, CA, will be transformed into a tech incubator following approval by the Escondido City Council late last year. Partners in the endeavor will include the Escondido Library, Cal State San Marcos, National University, and several other educational institutions, reports The North County Times. This will be the first incubator located in North County.

Venture Accelerator, a University of Michigan business incubator for startup companies, officially launched in January in a building that housed former Pfizer offices in Ann Arbor. The 16,000-square-foot incubator is expected to house up to 20 companies working on commercializing technologies from the university.

GateWay Community College in Arizona will launch a $6 million Emerging Technologies Incubator, a complex of office spaces, conference rooms and laboratories to house up to 30 early stage companies focusing on bioscience and other emerging technologies, reports the Arizona Republic. Funding for the 17,000-square-foot complex came from a combination of federal and local grants, a community-college bond offering, and private donations.

The FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis (UM) will manage a business startup facilitator and incubator expected to be operational by mid-2012, according to The Commercial Appeal. The Crews Venture Lab features flex office space with access to mentors, advisors and regional early stage investors. A second phase will include a 3,000-square-foot space for a prototype shop and product design lab. Half of the $2 million needed to renovate and operate the site was received as a donation.

Denis Lebel, minister of state for Canada Economic Development, announced earlier this month an initiative to assist university graduates in establishing businesses through a $3 million business accelerator called the Accelerateur de creation d'entreprises technologiques. The Canadian government will provide $293,500 toward the effort, which aims to support about 30 small and medium-sized enterprises in the next three years.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute formed a new incubator called the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem under a plan to revive a 30-year-old former incubator program. The new program will help faculty, students and entrepreneurs commercialize technology and research from the campus, reports The Business Review. The Institute also is exploring the creation of an alumni-supported angel investment fund.

A business incubator supporting primarily startup technology companies recently launched in New Albany, OH, as part of a campaign celebrating a culture of innovation that also includes a blog and forum for technology officers. Inc@8000 offers 16,000 square feet of space for startup and entrepreneurial companies.

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