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Incubator Round Up

August 11, 2011

Spending time at a technology or business incubator may be the key to learning about entrepreneurship. Some universities, seeking to ramp up entrepreneurship programs, are turning to incubators as real-world teachers. A recent Washington Post article points to several business schools pairing traditional education, such as courses and lectures, with less-conventional approaches, including incubators and business competitions to prepare students for opportunities outside the classroom. Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators from across the U.S. and Canada are included below.

The city of Livermore, CA, celebrated the grand opening of i-GATE National Energy Systems Technology incubator last month, created to stimulate large-scale, high-tech business development around the region's two national labs. In addition to physical workspace, the 15,000-square-foot hub also will coordinate public-private collaboration with academia and the Department of Energy, reports The Mercury News. The region around the national labs was selected in 2010 as one of six future iHubs, a statewide initiative to improve competitiveness by stimulating partnerships, economic development, and job creation around specific research clusters.

Texas State University System regents in May approved design plans for a $7 million facility to house the Center for Research Commercialization facility. The 20,000-square-foot accelerator will provide startup companies (with a focus on green and biotech) with access to Texas State faculty, laboratory and office space. The university is contributing $4.6 million with an additional $1.8 million from an EDA grant. Another $500,000 will come from the City of San Marcos, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Construction is expected to be complete by fall 2012.

Google, Coca-Cola and Target are providing monetary and staffing support to the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), reports GeekWire. PIE is modeled on TechStarts, a popular startup incubator program started in Boulder, CO. The first PIE candidates will enter the program September 1, with $18,000 in startup capital and office space for three months.

The Auburn Research and Technology Foundation in Alabama established earlier this year the Auburn Business Incubator, a full-service, mixed-use business incubator designed to help commercialize university- and community-derived technologies and services. The incubator, located in the Auburn Research Park, will work closely with local angel network and other investors to assist clients.

To bring more video game developers into the area, the Louisiana Tech Park plans to launch an incubator program designed specifically for digital media groups. Officials hope the program will be in place by the end of the summer, reports The Advocate.

Carnegie Mellon University unveiled a new "Greenlighting Startups" initiative to help create university-spinoff companies. A portfolio of five new and existing campus incubators, the initiative aims to create multiple portals through which the university can help turn research into thriving companies, according to a press release. Services include a fund to provide early stage financing to alumni who have graduated within the past five years.

Plans are underway for a Philadelphia-area incubator designed specifically to cultivate environmental and social entrepreneurs. The Greenhouse Business incubator includes 2,000 square feet of office space for businesses that focus on sustainability.

Toronto's famed MaRS Discovery District announced construction of its MaRS Centre Phase 2 will proceed with a completion date of September 2013. This expansion doubles the size of the facility to over 1.5 million square feet, making it one of the largest urban innovation hubs in the world. Located adjacent to the existing facility, Center 2 will offer co-located technologically advanced laboratory and office space, communications and information technology capabilities, and collaboration opportunities with other tenants.

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