Incubator RoundUp: New Incubators Help Grow Specialized High-Tech Companies

November 14, 2007

Over the past several months, universities, city and state governments, and private companies alike have announced the creation of high-tech incubators that will serve as springboards for developing specialized companies to help grow the regional economy. Following is a sampling of recent incubator news from across the nation.


In September, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) announced a $50,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be used toward the creation of a high-technology incubator in Grant County. In partnership with Taylor University’s Center for Research & Innovation, Grant County Economic Growth Council will receive the bulk of the money to develop the Grant County Innovators Network Center, providing space for one anchor tenant and up to 20 incubator clients.


The Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. is in the development phase for its planned Emerging Venture Center of Innovation. The goal is for the center to become a satellite of Kentucky’s Central Region Innovation and Commercialization Center. The second phase of the plan includes incubator and accelerator space with science laboratories for new companies.


A technology incubator is set to open early next year in East Lansing as part of the Lansing Regional SmartZone. The 7,000-square-foot facility will work to develop Michigan State University spin-offs and support other local high-tech ventures. The city’s Downtown Development Authority is providing $250,000 to build the space, according to the Lansing State Journal.


Last month, Kettering University broke ground on a 12,000-square-foot multi-tenant facility called the Kettering University Science and Technology Incubator Building. The facility will support scientific and technologically-based start-up companies and will include 10 dedicated research laboratory suites, executive offices and shared equipment and support facilities. Funding for the $2.7 million facility came from the U.S. Department of Commerce and State of Michigan funds.


As part of an overall effort to drive the development of the bioscience industry in Rochester, Minn., Rochester Area Economic Development Inc., the city’s economic development arm, announced the creation of the Minnesota BioBusiness Center. The 150,000-square-foot facility will be located near to the Mayo Clinic and the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics and will provide office and lab space for companies that could benefit from Rochester’s bioscience assets.


A privately owned technology business incubator, called the Turbine Flats project, opened last month in Lincoln, Neb. The owners converted an old manufacturing building into 27,000 sq. ft. of office space. The project also includes a community venture fund to provide small and preferably matching seed funds to start-up companies.


The city of Akron, Ohio, recently held an open house to reveal its newly expanded incubator, renamed the Akron Global Business Accelerator. The city received a $1.7 million federal grant for renovations that allowed them to open several more floors for start-up businesses. The University of Akron Research Foundation also announced the creation of the Akron Innovation Campus geared toward university spin off technology companies.


The city of Dayton recently invested $1.4 million to create the Dayton RFID Incubator Corp., an economic development project to attract and develop radio frequency identification-related businesses. CityWide Development Corp. will develop and manage the incubator, which is expected to open sometime next year.


The University of Toledo (UT) won a second $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in September to establish a second high-tech incubator. UT will construct a 40,000-square-foot building next to the existing Clean and Alternative Energy Incubation Center that will house a broader spectrum of companies.


A new bioscience incubator at the University of Texas-Austin will become the fourth incubator formed inside the Austin Technology Incubator. The city of Austin invested $125,000 in the new incubator that will focus on biotech and life sciences industries.