Business incubators—programs designed to help launch entrepreneurial ventures—are expanding nationwide amid increased demand for the resources, services and counseling the programs typically provide for little or no cost.
New incubator programs have been forming in the U.S. at an annual rate of 8% to 10% for the past five years, and today there are approximately 1,200, estimates Tracy Kitts, vice president of the National Business Incubation Association, a nonprofit in Athens, Ohio. The programs are commonly funded by economic-development groups, government entities and academic institutions, and more than half support start-ups in a mix of industries.
Most incubators offer start-ups commercial space to grow their ventures for below-market lease rates, plus free counseling, administrative support and services in areas such as human resources, information technology and marketing.
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