Lending Business Incubators a Helping-Hand Toolkit

Business GraphicBusiness incubator managers now have a resource designed to make comparisons and recommendations, and provide links to additional resources on how to improve their programs' operations and performance.

The "Web-Based Toolkit" complements a comprehensive study, "Incubating Success: Incubation Best Practices That Lead to Successful New Ventures," for which David Lewis, associate professor in UAlbany's Department of Geography and Planning, is the research director and lead author.

The project was a collaborative effort among UAlbany; the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy; the National Business Incubation Association; and Cybergroup Inc.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the study examined business incubation programs throughout the U.S. and across industry sectors, and identified which practices contributed most to incubator client success, including:

  • Emphasizing job creation and nurturing entrepreneurial climate in the community;
  • Establishing synergy among multiple practices, policies, and services;
  • Showcasing clients to the community and potential funders;
  • Frequent collection of client outcome data;
  • Use of a not-for-profit model, and;
  • Support from local government agencies, economic development groups, universities, or other incubator sponsors.