YOUTHFUL INITIATIVES Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Pierre Damien HABUMUREMYI visited Masaka Business Incubation Centre, located in Masaka, Kicukiro District, Kigali City, Rwanda on April 2, 2012. The Prime Minister visited the Centre with the aim of assessing the breadth of activity and scoping out areas of improvement. He was appreciative of the work being undertaken and encouraged the Centre to provide the training offered on a continuously productive scale. He also urged them to collaborate effectively with local government agencies to enhance the youth training provision. The Masaka Incubation Centre focuses on products manufactured from bamboo including tables, beds and chairs, with some companies manufacturing leather-based products. Plans are in place to start incubating various agri-diary based businesses as well. The Masaka Business centre was established by the Rwanda Development Board in an effort to promote and to enhance the youth capacity building in the area.
FISHING FOR BUSINESS The Central Institute of Fisheries and Technology (CIFT) in Kochi, South India launched a 5,000m 2 Business Incubation Centre, on the April 5, 2012, to enable the establishment and development of technology and knowledge-centric business ventures within the agricultural sector. The Centre is geared to assist start-up companies by providing a host of support business services, including access to a pilot plant and hi-tech equipment. The usual mix of market intelligence, networking assistance and business modelling will also be on offer to incubatees. Currently the Centre can home nine ventures simultaneously and the goal is to set up a 100 incubators by the 12th Plan period.
CHARITY BEGINS HERE Agnel Charities (Agnel Seva Sangh) launched the Centre for Innovation and Business Acceleration (CIBA) on April 4, 2012. The Centre was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar. CIBA's CEO, JM Noronha was confident that ideas and innovative solutions by aspiring entrepreneurs would be incubated at the Centre while they would have access to financial assistance from venture capitalists or angel investors if the ideas had potential. The Centre is oriented to promote innovation in the areas of IT enabled services, food processing and solid waste management. IIM, Ahmedabad has agreed to provide mentoring and services for the incubatees and the Centre is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The Centre is associated with various incubation networks including the Asia Pacific Incubation Network (APIN), the Indian Business Incubator Association (ISBA) and Indian STEP.
ICT GETS A LEG-UP The IT Business Incubation Development Centre committee in Nigeria stressed that government needed to align the curricula of ICT programmes in tertiary institutions in the country to current global standards in order to produce a better quality of ICT graduates who were potential entrepreneurs. The committee was given the mandate to develop a sustainable domestic IT Business Incubation framework to nurture and encourage local talent and facilitate the commercialization of research results. The committee report recommended a country-wide range of activities based on an initial set of about six incubation centres nationally to support deserving aspiring ICT entrepreneurs. The report recommended a detailed 18-24 month incubation process which would result in the creation of high-quality businesses entrepreneurs who would add value to existing SMEs in the Nigerian ICT industry. The Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson stated that her ministry was working with the Ministry of Education to ensure that ICT is embedded in the curriculum of schools in the federation. She expressed her eagerness to see the ICT industry take off and said that the seed capital was critical to implementation. While receiving a report of IT Business Incubation Development Centre committee she stated that the government was pursuing policies to ensure indigenous manufacturers were patronised The committee was set up by the ministry to deliver a sustainable framework to guide the setting up of incubation centres and the provision of enabling environment that fosters ICT innovation from incubation to commercial success in the country.
THE LEARNING CURVE infoDev hosted a "Training of Trainers" programme In Istanbul, from 20th to 25th Feb, 2012. The focus of the programme was to enhance the skills of a number of experienced business incubation practitioners from the infoDev network. Those completing the twelve modules became infoDev certified trainers who can now offer training programmes based on the infoDev training material. Dr. Nicolas Rouhana, from Berytech, Lebenon (one of our feature writers – Unnatural Selection) was selected to participate in this training program. The training was designed to enhance the delivery of skilled business incubation in outreach areas covered by infoDev. The training program has drawn its content from experiences, proven models and examples across diverse regions of the globe. Over 30 experts helped to provide the module content and the results were tested by 300 professionals across developing countries who also supplied information from their own knowledge base.
QUICK GROWTH Four new start-ups launched at Birmingham Science Park’s Entrepreneurs for the Future incubation centre (e4f). Settle, Sync Interactive, Dojit and Cubica 3 will receive mentoring and business planning services to become investor ready. In addition, they will be getting telephone, internet access and office space for free for six months; a package worth £10,000. Partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund, e4f is unique to Birmingham and aims to harness and support the city’s growing tech community. Since its launch in November 2009, Birmingham Science Park’s e4f centre has created 82 new directors and employees.
TEN OUT OF TEN The European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre Harwell (ESA BIC Harwell) has reached its target of signing up ten tenants within a year of launch. It now houses ten hi-tech, start- ups, that will turn cutting edge space technology into profitable businesses in non-space-related industries. Tenancy can last up to 24 months and companies will receive a broad range of services, including a grant of £41,500 for product development. The ESA BIC Harwell is one of six ESA business incubation centres across Europe.
WOMEN TAKE THE INITIATIVE A 50-member delegation thanked the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) for arranging their participation in the Women Lifestyle Exhibition held at Islamabad in April, 2012. SMEDA officials told the delegation about the efforts being undertaken by SMEDA to increase the participation of women in business. SMEDA has set up a Women Entrepreneurship Cell that conducts business training workshops and initiates projects that facilitate entrepreneurship among women. The Women Business Incubation Center at Lahore and in other cities in Pakistan are all part of SMEDAs scope of activities.
FROM THE ASHES Project Phoenix, launched on 12th April, 2012, is the first project of this kind and focuses on turning victims of domestic violence into financially independent entrepreneurs who control their own future. The project was funded by a $100,000 grant from Verizon (one of five $100,000 grants awarded to workforce development organizations and domestic violence agencies across New York State) to develop entrepreneurship training programs for survivors. The entrepreneurial side of the program will focus on training in opportunity recognition, exploration, and education, to show participants the potential that exists and to help them get there. Courses will cover subjects such credit, money, financial instruments, public speaking and time management. At the end of the training individuals will be able to create their business entity enabling them to apply for a Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant. The grant offers up to $5,000 in start-up funding. Those wanting to take their business plans to the next level may be enrolled in the advanced NxLevel business track that provides optional and advanced courses, and access to the SSIC Community Business Partners program and further financing options.
SOCIALLY MINDED Mobile and tech start-up veteran Michael “Luni” Libes is confident of the success of a new incubator aimed at fostering “conscious companies” that hope to improve society. These are not ‘not-for-profit’ companies, but businesses being run by entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact on the world. Fledge, in Seattle, is an incubator that invites applicants from any sector as long as they are aiming improve the environment, energy use, health, food, community etc. A total of seven companies are to be selected and will work for an eight-week period at the HUB Seattle, or at the SURF incubator. Fledge is a hybrid of the standard tech incubator model—taking three percent equity in the company and revenue-based financing, with the standard $7,000 cash stake considered a loan to be paid back. The money returned to Fledge in the form of paid-back revenue may be recycled into new loans, while also turning a profit. Libes saw the huge potential for entrepreneurs outside of the tech sector after eight months spent advising early stage companies.
THE ART OF BUSINESS Gallery owner, curator, lawyer and Beijng resident - David Ben Kay - launched an art incubator aimed at nurturing start-ups that combine art, business and sustainability with technology, on 25th April, 2012. Named Yuanfen it is dedicated to supporting the creation of new companies by providing technical and financial support as well as mentoring services. Yuanfen has a very strong technology component to it and looks for artists who are doing things that are “interesting, challenging, cutting edge and a little bit dangerous”. The companies being incubated are diverse in nature; for example, one of the incubatees, Muuyu, teaches yoga online, while another, Customaid, is a service that enables users of social networks to create made-to-measure clothing.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
YOUTHFUL ASPIRATIONS Dubai SME announced that registration for the 'Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders' (YBL) is open until July 12, 2012. The YBL Award is the first of its kind in the region and aims to foster a competitive environment among young entrepreneurs in the Emirates and other Arab countries. The award will also recognise both individuals and organisations who have helped entrepreneurship flourish in the UAE. Ibtihal Al Naji, General Coordinator of the Award, said that since its launch in 2003, the YBL Award has had His Highness Sheik Mohammed's continuous support in encouraging the SME business sector. Dubai SME is committed to expanding and raising the scope of this award by adopting best practices and creating a model that is internationally recognised and commended.
SPACE FOR IDEAS The Science and Technology Facilities Council and CERN announced a joint venture on 3rd May, 2012 at the at the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus. The JV is designed to translate technologies developed by CERN into profitable companies in the UK. The CERN-STFC Business Incubation Centre will help foster small businesses with innovative ideas that are based on technologies developed through high energy physics at CERN in Geneva. This is a first for CERN and the initiative could grow to include other European countries as well. Under the scheme, five companies each year, over a period of two years, will be given a support package that includes up to £40,000 funding. In addition, they will receive 40 hours of unpaid access to technical expertise and facilities across STFC and direct access to CERN’s technologies, expertise and intellectual property. The incubation centre will be officially launched later this year when the first call for proposals will be made.
INNOVATION FOR THE FUTURE King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) organized a major workshop on the five disciplines for innovation in April, 2012. KACST worked with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International, US, and the BADIR program for Technology Incubators represented KACST at the event. The workshop aimed at educating participants, both entrepreneurs and industry leaders, on the importance of innovation in any organisation and the impact on local economy. The vision of the workshop was to give a boost to sustainable development and accelerate the knowledge economy. Both the National Science and Technology Plan and the National Industry Strategy objectives of the country target diversification in the economy through the growth of non-oil technology industries – the end aim is to build a knowledge economy in Saudi Arabia. BADIR-ICT has already assisted in the creation and development of a number of ICT businesses. Four more BADIR technology incubators, covering bio-technology, advanced manufacturing, nano-technology and energy sectors are at various stages of development in the Kingdom. KACST plans to support at least 11 other BADIR affiliate technology incubators in the next few years in association with universities and other institutions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National Technology Business Incubation Policy Framework, envisages the Kingdom having 80 technology incubators by 2025.
OPENING NEW DOORS ilab, Queensland’s incubator for tech-driven start-up companies saw the official opening of its new offices on 30th April, 2012. The inauguration of the new premises coincided with ilab becoming an operational unit of UniQuest Pty Limited, the main commercialisation company of The University of Queensland. Besides the traditional office space and mentoring services, ilab will be adding innovative networking, education and funding programs to its portfolio of offerings. The ilab, for example, will disburse $20,000 to Queensland entrepreneurs with business concepts or early technologies to commence Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development and marketing. The first intake of incubatee companies at the new premises is slated for June this year.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
QUEST FOR DIVERSIFICATION The NOVA Committee of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce flagged off its SME initiative through a set of workshops and their biennial conference that focuses on SME development. The conference in January, 2012 also included an ice-breaking session with past Presidents of the Chamber. The conference was attended by members of the Ministry of Labour and the Small and Micro Enterprises Integrated Business Incubator System Programme (IBIS.) The NOVA committee stressed their commitment to offer support to initiatives such as the IBIS Programme as the Chamber believes that it is important to support ideas and businesses that can create sustainable, revenue generating niches. The Chamber plans to continue its promotion of SME development and will continue to organise events and sessions with a similar focus in the future.
ALL IN THE GAME The Swedish government recently funded The Game Incubator Network, an initiative that aids development start-ups with their intellectual properties. The programme will be implemented by Gothia Innovation AB, located at Gothia Science Park in Skövde. Key member of this programme, Nichlas Dunham, former head of major development studios Starbreeze and Grin, believes the Swedish government has been proactive in promoting the videogame industry and is convinced that the incubator team is well placed to produce the next round of development achievers. Besides the National Gaming Centre at Gothia Science Park, there are seven other incubators in the programme. Currently, there are over 70 companies and research centres in Gothia Science Park, employing close to 700 people in industries such as telecom, life sciences and information technology (with a niche in computer and videogames).
A NEW HIGH FOR INCUBATION The Bhutan Innovation and Technology Centre (BITC) located in the country’s IT park, in Thimphu, was launched in early May, 2012 with the aim of serving as the hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and enterprise creation in Bhutan. The incubator has three components - a business incubator, a data centre and a shared technology centre. BITC will provide its incubatees with a range of services from physical space to intellectual collaborations, providing links both internationally and locally. The business incubator has 43 workstations, four manager cubicles, two training rooms, a meeting room, a video conferencing room, and space for a library. Ten local companies have been identified that qualify for incubation at BITC and range from news services to an animation and graphics company.
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Published on 22-05-2012 17:34 by David Tee. 2159 page views
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