The benefits of an incubator aren't restricted to technology companies. According to Adkins, that's one of the great misconceptions about business incubators. In fact, the statistics tell just the opposite story. Of the incubators in business, according to Adkins, 40 percent concentrate on service businesses, 23 percent on light manufacturing, 22 percent on technology and 7 percent on basic research, while the remaining 8 percent support diverse businesses and industries.
But that doesn't mean getting into an incubator is a slam dunk, cautions Adkins. "The best incubator programs have become adept at analyzing companies to see if their investment is worthwhile, so they evaluate the deal the same way a professional venture capitalist might," she says. "Just like everyone else, [incubators] are looking for companies that will be successful."
To find the incubator nearest you, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the National Business Incubation Association, 20 E. Circle Dr., #190, Athens, OH 45701, call (614) 593-4331, or visit http://www.nbia.org
David R. Evanson, a writer and consultant, is a principal of Financial Communications Associates in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.