Definition of Incubator
Incubator is one of the tools for economic growth which are established to support entrepreneurs, and to provide grounds for establishing new companies by presenting public facilities. Nowadays benefiting from incubators is considered as one of the accepted means of converting scientific and investigative innovations and achievements into the products ready for market and developing entrepreneurship. Today, there are more than 3000 incubators all over the world that most of them are in USA and Japan. The word “incubator” refers to a device which provides required heat for hatching chickens. This word also refers to a device which supply heat for survival of premature infants after childbirth. In entrepreneurship literature, incubators are the centers which are developed to launch or create small businesses.
Incubators are the innovation-based plans and consisted of small management personnel. These centers have commonly owned physical premises and facilities.
The first incubator was established in 1959 in New York. In that year, Joseph Mansco, who was an American businessman purchased a great old building to first repair it and then rent it; but he realized that the building is too much big for just one tenant to handle its expenses. Thus, he decided to rent it to several tenants to make more profit of it. After one year, Mansco had 20 to 30 tenants who rented approximately ten thousand square meters of the complex area. This center is already active and is recognized as “Batavia Industrial Center”, and thousand people are working in it.
Incubators’ Idea in Iran
The first idea was proposed in 1992 which was in fact about Science & Technology Towns and Isfahan Scientific & Technological Town (already running) and Kavosh Town which is affiliated to Ministry of Industries & Mines. In that year, incubators were not suggested, and in 1997, this idea was offered and the first incubator was executed in 1999 in Isfahan Scientific & Technological Town, and this town started to admit cores and technological companies. And this issue received more attention in 2001, and the first step was certification of Incubators and Science & Technology Parks Development on March 08, 2003 by State Higher Education Development Council. In line with this procedure, an agreement with incubators was issued in 2003.
Types of Incubators
Industrial Incubators: These centers are mostly established by governmental foundations or non-profit centers to support employers.
Academic Incubators: These centers are established to facilitate commercial application of technical knowledge and intellectual ownership rights, and to make use of academic facilities such as laboratory, workshop and library. Meanwhile, the said centers could provide opportunity to make use of specialized comments and consultation of faculty members of universities.
Virtual Incubators: These centers has no particular physical premises and present facilities other than administrative spaces.
International Incubators: Generally these types of centers has a complete set of supporting services for development of commercial activities and mostly focus on export. These center are connected to universities, domestic and international investors. One of the unique specifications of this group is creating a network of incubators in its relevant zone.
Major objectives of incubators may be classified as follows:
- Assisting to attract more academic trainees and graduates in job market and developing job
- Creating units of small and medium-sized technical and specialized industries which could stay competitive in job market.
- Renovating, transferring technology and making use of new scientific discoveries.
- Increasing efficiency of potential workforce and optimum application of such huge national wealth
- Besides these goals, incubators seek other objectives: local economic growth, economic and investment variety, assisting women, immigrants or minorities
- Providing required ground for commercializing scientific-research investigations
- Making entrepreneurship setting and supporting young researchers
- Assisting local and knowledge-based economic prosperity
- Providing required area for growth and development of small and medium-sized knowledge-based and technological units
- Supplying space, amenities and financial facilities to commercialize research and technological achievements
- Financial and intellectual supports of the units established in incubator
- Presenting educational and consulting active services necessary for units in line with commercializing new ideas
- Evaluating and inspecting activities of technological units to materialize essential ideas
- Marketing and selling technological products
- Creating dynamic and synergetic environment to offer various services for scientific and commercial growth of technological units established in the Center
- Supplying legal supports required for the established units to facilitate commercializing process