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Business Incubators for a Variety of Niches

A growing number of specialized, market-specific business accelerators are helping entrepreneurs around the country get their businesses off the ground

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This story appears in the May 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The dizzying array of sights, smells and sounds that welcomes visitors to North Market in Columbus, Ohio, makes it tough to know where to go first. No less than 35 food-related businesses populate the bazaar. The scent of fine cheeses directs shoppers' attention one way, competing with the aroma of delicious-looking baked goods from another nearby vendor. Fishmongers, butchers and produce sellers line the aisles, and the second-floor mezzanine has seating for those who can't wait to sample their delicious finds.

This warehouse, renovated to be reminiscent of a European public market, may not look like it, but it's one of more than 1,200 business incubators housing tens of thousands of entrepreneurial companies around the U.S. Business incubators--also known as business accelerators--help startups of all stripes take root, providing resources to turn them into thriving, growing companies. That help may include offering low-cost office space, providing access to consultants and other experts, creating networking opportunities and much more.

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