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Peep Peep

In a business climate where the line between laying the golden egg and becoming poultry is a fine one, can an incubator provide the help you need?

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This story appears in the February 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

NASDAQ paints a picture that, at times, is grim; at others, uplifting. But there's no doubt: Tech companies that were riding a huge wave of prosperity just one year ago are now trying to plan for the erratic ebb and flow of a slightly less confident economy. Does that mean potential dotcoms have decided to wait for the next big wave? Hardly. Internet start-ups are still popping up in large numbers, and fueling those businesses are investors wanting to get in on the game. One of the fastest-growing areas of investment is the incubator.

As the name implies, start-up companies still in the "egg" come to incubators to get hatched. Armed with nothing but their experience and an idea, entrepreneurs can be in business overnight if selected by an incubator company. Entrepreneurs who would have started out in the garage can now start their companies in fully furnished offices with phone lines and servers, some cash if needed and high-level mentors just down the hall.

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