Incubators Hatch Businesses

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This story appears in the December 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

According to a 1998 study by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), there are 587 incubators in North America helping thousands of fledgling businesses take flight every year.

While 43 percent of incubators are open to all types of businesses, the next largest category is technology, with 25 percent of facilities serving high-tech companies.

Following are some of the newest incubators that either recently opened or will be up and running shortly.

  • STARTech, a for-profit incubator operated by the Richardson Chamber of Commerce in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, provides start-up services and leases space to emerging technology firms.

Entrepreneurs receive marketing and technology development help as well as other business assistance. In addition, companies can take advantage of a seed fund that makes investments of $25,000 to $200,000; there is also a venture capital network for companies seeking $1 million or more.

  • The Georgia State Legislature is funding three new high-tech incubators, all operated by the Georgia Research Alliance.

The first incubator focuses on companies involved in the pharmaceutical industry and will be located on the campus of Georgia State University in Atlanta beginning in January.

The second is a bio-engineering incubator scheduled to open in September 1999 on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta.

The University of Georgia in Athens is hosting the third incubator, which is scheduled to open in December 1999. It will focus on plant and animal technology.

  • The Enterprise Development Center is a nonprofit mixed-use incubator in Louisville, Kentucky, that's operated by LCDB Enterprise Group. The facility is also located in the Louisville Empowerment Zone, which enables tenants to take advantage of a revolving loan fund.
  • The Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center in Minneapolis is a virtual incubator that's becoming an actual facility in June 1999. It targets renewable-energy and other environmental firms and will provide business and management consulting in such areas as marketing, finance, and product development and positioning. Firms interested in applying must submit a business plan, which will be individually reviewed for viability of the product or service and enterprise capabilities.

For a more complete list of incubators, contact the NBIA at (740) 593-4331 or

Contest Helps You Get Noticed

National - The National Mail Order Association (NMOA) is looking for 500 manufacturers who think their products will be the next hot sellers.

U.S.-based companies of all sizes, as well as inventors, are invited to submit entries for the NMOA's second annual Hot Products Contest. All valid entries will be featured in the association's international newsletter, Mail Order Digest, which is sent to merchandise buyers from mail order, catalog and infomercial companies as well as other direct marketers. The top 500 submissions receive a certificate of recognition and a publicity kit containing a sample press release and a letter explaining how to contact local media. Fifty of the top 500 submissions (one per state) will also have their products featured free on the NMOA Web site for one year.

The deadline for submitting an entry is December 31, 1998. Applications are available on the NMOA's Web site at ; via fax-on-demand at (612) 788-4193; or by sending a business-sized self-addressed, stamped envelope to the National Mail Order Association LLC, 2807 Polk St. N.E., Minneapolis, MN 55418-2954.

Japanese Government Courts U.S. Firms

International - Contrary to what you might think, historic low interest rates and cheap real estate make this an excellent time to expand into Asia. And entrepreneurs interested in establishing or expanding their operations in Japan may be able to do so with a loan from the Japan Development Bank (JDB).

JDB has three offices in the United States--in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, DC--that identify companies interested in investing in Japan. The bank can help finance up to 50 percent of a proposed project. To qualify, a firm should be willing to open a warehouse or Japanese subsidiary or form a partnership with a Japanese company. Interested entrepreneurs should present four years of financial statements and have a solid idea of what their Japanese project will be. The Japanese government is particularly interested in high-tech and retail ventures but will discuss any viable proposal.

Contact the Los Angeles office at (213) 362-2980, the New York City office at (212) 221-0708 or the Washington, DC, office at (202) 331-8696.

Contact Sources

LCDB Enterprise Group, 2900 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY 40211,

Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center, (612) 874-1148,

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