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Someone to Rely On

Niche incubators give business a big boost.

When it comes to helping fledgling businesses grow wings, business incubators can be invaluable. Most incubators nurture various kinds of startups by offering access to office and work spaces, mentors, advice, equipment and networking resources. But other incubators choose to specialize. Here are three business incubators that have carved out their own niches to help entrepreneurs launch successful ventures.

San Francisco

Formerly know as the Women's Technology Cluster, Astia's mission is to increase the number of successful women-led companies in the fields of technology, clean tech and life science. With more than 50 companies on its roster, Astia is a hotbed for innovative startups. The incubator helps with affordable office spaces, mentoring, networking, accounting, leadership skills, development and raising capital. Astia has been especially successful at connecting young businesses with investors and VCs.

Clean Energy Incubator
Austin, Texas

Launched in 2001, the Clean Energy Incubator was the first of its kind. CEI focuses on companies working in renewable energy and energy efficiency. And its Austin, Texas, location puts it within a booming technology center. Early stage participants have worked in fields ranging from solar power to water conservation to biofuels. Green entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, and incubators like this one help these businesses get off the ground.

Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen
New York City

Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen isn't your average business incubator. As the name suggests, it aids budding food entrepreneurs, including small manufacturers, caterers, bakers and entrepreneurs in need of test kitchens. The kitchen works like a flexible time share, covers 5,000 square feet and offers various work spaces, kitchen assistants and professional equipment. It has helped entrepreneurs launch new products, new restaurants and other food-related ventures.

This story appears in the December 2007 issue of Startups. Subscribe »