A business incubator is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) defines business incubators as a catalyst tool for either regional or national economic development. NBIA categorizes their members’ incubators by the following five incubator types: academic institutions; non-profit development corporations; for-profit property development ventures; venture capital firms, and combination of the above.
The formal concept of business incubation began in the USA in 1959 when Joseph Mancuso opened the Batavia Industrial Center in a Batavia, New York, warehouse. Incubation expanded in the U.S. in the 1980s and spread to the UK and Europe through various related forms (e.g. innovation centres, pépinières d’entreprises, technopoles/science parks).
The U.S.-based International Business Innovation Association estimates that there are about 7,000 incubators worldwide. A study funded by the European Commission in 2002 identified around 900 incubation environments in Western Europe. As of October 2006, there were more than 1,400 incubators in North America, up from only 12 in 1980. Her Majesty’s Treasury identified around 25 incubation environments in the UK in 1997; by 2005, UKBI identified around 270 incubation environments across the country. In 2005 alone, North American incubation programs assisted more than 27,000 companies that provided employment for more than 100,000 workers and generated annual revenues of $17 billion.
Incubation activity has not been limited to developed countries; incubation environments are now being implemented in developing countries and raising interest for financial support from organisations such as UNIDO and the World Bank.
List of business incubators
The following is an incomplete list of notable companies well known as business incubators:
- Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator
- Technology Business Incubator TBI-NITC
- Naiot Venture Accelerator
- St John’s Innovation Centre
- C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation)
- Campus Blairon
- Corporate Accelerator