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Incubator RoundUp: Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Supporting Tech Commercialization

October 01, 2008

Technology-focused incubators are an important component to fostering entrepreneurial development in a region by nurturing businesses in the earliest stages of development and helping them grow into larger companies that employ high-wage workers and bring new technologies to the market. The following select announcements provide an overview of new incubators from across the nation, illustrating the vital role of entrepreneurial development in growing high-tech regional economies.

Ann Arbor Spark announced last month a new location for its proposed business incubator in downtown Ypsilanti, reports the Ann Arbor News. The 8,500-square-foot incubator, which is expected to open in December, will provide space for 10 start-up technology companies for two years, the article states.

Battle Creek Unlimited announced in August they are developing a virtual incubator as a Web 2.0 network to match high-tech start-up companies with universities and public entities. With partial funding from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the virtual incubator will offer services including quick access to resources, business progress monitoring, and the ability for existing area businesses, local economic development organizations and entrepreneurs to create and maintain their own profile, according to a Battle Creek Enquirer article.

Opening this month, the newly-renovated East Lansing Technology Innovation Center is a 7,000-square-foot facility that works to attract Michigan State University technology spinoffs, information technology entrepreneurs, and other technology-focused companies. Another 18,000 sq. ft. of anchor space is also available for larger technology companies.

The University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Trustees approved in August a design for a new 85,000-square-foot Innovation Center at Carolina North. The goal of the Innovation Center is to streamline the development and to accelerate the commercialization of novel technologies. In addition to research and office space for emerging companies, the Innovation Center will also provide office space for UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Lawrence Regional Technology Center is in the planning phase for an $8 million incubator on Kansas University's (KU) West Campus, reports the Journal-World. The center will manage and operate the incubator, located in close proximity to the Multidisciplinary Research Building on West Campus to serve technology spinoff companies from KU. Lawrence Regional Technology Center is soliciting $4 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority toward the project, according to the article. The other half of the funding has been secured through approvals from Lawrence and Douglas County commissions and resources from KU and the Lawrence-Douglas County Biosciences Authority, the article states.

Last month, the Germantown Innovation Center opened on the campus of Montgomery College. The 32,000-square-foot facility offers 11 wet labs, two modular clean rooms and 45 offices. The center will accommodate 25 to 365 life sciences and technology companies.

Led by a group of life science veterans, investors, and academics, the North Shore Life Sciences Accelerator is a new biotech incubator located at the Cummings Center in Beverly, Massachusetts. The accelerator will nurture early-stage biotech or medical device firms with strong technologies and business plans, according to the North Shore Technology Council. The tech council has raised $10,000 in private contributions, but is seeking additional financing from the state's new $1 billion life sciences initiative announced earlier this year (see the June 18, 2008 issue of the Digest), reports The Boston Globe.

Construction is expected to begin this fall to expand facilities at the San Jose Bio Center to accommodate growing biotechnology companies, reports the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. The 40,000-square-foot center will add another 40,000 sq. ft., giving early-stage companies second-stage space to move into as they grow, the article states.

Under an agreement between the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and the City of Charleston, SCRA will lease and renovate a vacant building from the City of Charleston to be used as an incubator to attract and support start-up companies affiliated with researchers from MUSC. Last week, the preliminary building design was unveiled, which includes wet lab and equipment space.

The first ten incubator suites of a new 6,000-square-foot urban research park located near University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison are slated for completion in early 2009. The urban research park is targeting high-tech entrepreneurs in information technology, engineering, medical devices and computer science. Located in proximity to student and faculty at UW-Madison, the incubator suites will have ready access to high-bandwidth fiber optic networks along the East Washington corridor and will be connected to the University Research Park Net connection to campus Internet.

Virginia Tech announced its VT KnowledgeWorks initiative has added a comprehensive mix of services to its support for growing businesses. The business acceleration center added a pre-launch segment of the program that helps market-worthy ventures organize, formulate strategy, and obtain outside investment, according to a Virginia Tech press release.

Learn more about encouraging entrepreneurship and commercialization strategies at SSTI's 12th Annual Conference

SSTI will explore creating an entrepreneurial culture and how TBED organizations can contribute to an environment that encourages and rewards new venture creation. Panelists will discuss how organizations can catalyze new business starts through networking and creative use of innovative spaces.

Join discussants Ernie Dianastasis, Managing Director, CAI and Chairman, First State Innovation and Tony Redpath, Vice President, Partner Programs, MaRS Discovery District for the breakout session: Fostering a Culture of Entrepreneurship on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 2:00 PM. Rich Bendis, President & CEO, Bendis Investment Group, LLC will moderate this session, encouraging a lively discussion and sharing of experiences with audience members.

A second breakout session, Innovative Approaches to Commercialization, will examine several commercialization strategies that have been successful in bringing together universities, federal laboratories, and private industry in a way that is responsive to the market and the technology needs of businesses.

This panel discussion takes place Thursday, Oct. 16 at 9:00 AM with presentations from Stephen Dahms, President and CEO, Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering and John Watson, Faculty Director, von Liebig Center for UC San Diego. Martha Connolly, Director, Maryland Industrial Partnerships, will moderate the session.

More information is available at: http://www.ssticonference.org/

California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsinincubators