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A New Chapter

A new chapter in the story of incubation

The concept of incubation has been around for a long time. In fact, many forward-thinking governments, large corporations, place-based communities and universities of merit have seen the need for, and invested in, incubators over the last three decades or so. In the EU, what began as a pilot experiment, brought into existence the first EC-BIC (“Business & Innovation Centres”) in 1984 in Belgium, which has now grown into a full-blown network of over 200 innovation-based incubators, which I have the privilege to serve.

Of course there is much more out there as the BICs, although a major player in the field, are not the only incubators around. Science parks, technology centres, clusters, entrepreneurship centres, accelerators, etc, all play a fundamental role when addressing the needs of entrepreneurs and of small and medium enterprises that everyone, I believe, might agree are the life blood of economies. But incubators are where the whole process begins and there is a specific reason for their success. They are professional bodies, highly selective and therefore have higher chances of generating sustainable businesses and therefore long-lasting jobs. Simply put, incubators make it happen. The best of them also embrace a broad and open concept all along the incubation value chain, from pre-incubation to post-incubation - for start-ups, for spin-offs, for gazelles, for SMEs, for everyone!

The European BIC Network has many sister networks around the globe and these are prominent and important players as well. The NBIA (National Business Incubation Association) in the US, the Chinese Business Incubation Network, Anprotec in Brazil, the IASP Science Parks network, the World Bank’s InfoDev, the Technology Incubators programme in Israel, RETIS in France, UKBI in the UK, ADT in Germany, SISP in Sweden, the Jordan Innovation Centres in Jordan, Chile Incuba, KOBIA in Korea just to name a few, all work with their partners and members to foster and promote best practices and share ideas across their own platforms. Where possible, agreements among networks are made to improve their economy of scale, a crucial step to increase the opportunities for client companies, and a necessary one when working in times of scarce resources. But a device that would put news, events, experiences, practices... of the incubation industry from around the world together in one single platform was actually missing, despite the wealth of experience from around the globe. Until now!

The launch of The Business Incubator has indeed come at a crucial time. This magazine, I believe, will provide that much needed platform for practitioner to talk to practitioner and address the growing needs of this industry, as the independent publication that provides peer-informed content. I have been privileged to see the making of this first issue and am hopeful that it will give us all a fair and informed view of the issues and concerns that we deal with in our day-to-day working life. I am proud that EBN has chosen to sponsor Issue 1. Hopefully other networks will follow soon.

I encourage you all to participate by contributing and subscribing to The Business Incubator. It is indeed the “incubator practitioner’s journal” and therefore each of us should have a vested interest in its success.

I wish the team at The Business Incubator the very best and look forward to a continued relationship with this much-needed magazine.

Philippe Vanrie,

Published on 22-05-2012 16:13 by David Tee. 1794 page views

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