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Building nests for high-tech start-up firms is what technology incubators do best. Offering the use of modems, computers, networks and affordable office space, an incubator could be the perfect place to launch your new business. And with the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) estimating that 25 percent of U.S. incubators focus on technology, there's probably one near you.
"There's been a steady movement [toward incubators for high-tech companies]," says Dinah Adkins, executive director of the NBIA. "They generally have strong sponsorships and are well-funded, so they [tend to] last longer."
Baltimore's InfoAge Business Centers and New York City's Plug `n' Go program are two such technology incubators that welcome fledgling entrepreneurs.
The private, for-profit InfoAge currently covers the Baltimore-Washington, DC, area, and plans to expand across the Eastern United States over the next five years. Its first building contains wired space for rent on a monthly or hourly basis. Like most traditional incubators, InfoAge also offers business support services such as copy machines, networking seminars and forums, and voice mail.
InfoAge is also designed to meet the needs of a variety of virtual companies. Entrepreneurs can purchase monthly packages starting at $29.95 for a computer and 35 hours of T1 Internet access; $129.95 per month adds a mailbox and address, unlimited T1 Internet access, Web site space, and conference and multimedia presentation room use. The cost of renting office space varies with the unit's size and location.
Likewise, in the Information Technology District of downtown New York City, the Plug `n' Go incubator is in full swing. A joint project of the Alliance for Downtown New York, New York City's Economic Development Corp. and several area property owners, the program consists of six buildings and 440,000 square feet of Internet-ready office space. At press time, there were 175 signed leases with an estimated 1,547 employees.
To find out about tech incubators in your area, contact the NBIA at http://www.nbia.org or (740) 593-4331.
Alliance for Downtown New York,plugngo@downtownNY.com, http://www.newyorkbiz.com/s7findex.htm
InfoAge Business Centers,http://www.infoagebc.com
National Business Incubation Association, 20 E. Circle Dr., #190, Athens, OH 45701-3751, http://www.nbia.org