Venture Atlanta Conference 2016
Venture Atlanta
Dec 7 /

Business Incubators 101

Day 149

Photo by pasukaru76 on Flickr

Much has been written recently about the state of Georgia’s startup community and about the dearth of investment capital. There has been a movement underway for quite some time now to attract more venture capital to the state and to make alternate investment vehicles such as venture capital funds eligible for investment by state pension funds.  Efforts to permit the investment of state pension funds in venture capital has had its fair share of supporters and detractors. Russell Grantham over at the AJC offers a generally balanced summary here of the issue and concerns

But perhaps an often overlooked aspect of start-up success is business incubator programs.  According to the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA), start-ups that are graduates of incubator programs are 87 percent more likely to stay in business than non-participating firms.

Georgia is not only home to the Advance Technology Development Center (ATDC), one of the country’s oldest technology incubators, but there are 11 other similar organizations in the state! In the coming weeks, Cache will take a closer look at some of these other incubators, their respective missions, services offered and entry requirements. But first, here’s a brief overview on business incubators.

What is a Business Incubator?

Business incubators offer an array of services that help accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. The terms ‘incubator’ and ‘accelerator’ are used interchangeably. Services can be offered from within the incubator or through its network of partners and they can range from networking to intellectual property management to access to angel and/or venture capital.

Who Do They Serve?

The target audience(s) served varies. The NBIA’s study in 2006 puts incubators that serve a mixed variety of industries at 54 percent and those focusing exclusively on technology companies at 39 percent. Majority of the incubators in Georgia serve entrepreneurs in the technology, biosciences and healthcare industries.

The first business incubator, Batavia Industrial Center, opened its doors in Batavia, NY back in 1959. By 1980, there were approximately 12 business incubators within the US. Fast forward to today and incubators number in the thousands.

There are currently 22 states with their own incubator associations. In Georgia, the Alpharetta Accelerator (AA) and the Four Athens are two of the latest to join the ranks.

Each incubator has its unique set of entry requirements and program structure. Cache will explore these and more with each of the incubators to be featured in December and January.
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