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Technology incubator helps transfer university knowledge & research to industrial applications

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Technology and innovations are the way of the world today. There is no dearth of young minds today that are innovatively creative. And yet many of these youth get lost in the abysmal human sea of routine living and meeting day-to-day demands. Some intrepid minds, of course, take the initiative, became entrepreneurs to start up their own companies based on their meager resources or with the aid of investors, who are usually hard to come by. At the turn of the century, many countries like the US and the UK felt the need to support such young minds. Hence, was born the concept of a Technology incubator.

Most of these incubators today are attached to universities. In 2017, the UK had about 205 incubators that were pumping in about 33 million pounds as an investment into start-ups.

Who do technology incubators provide support to?

  1. Projects or ideas that are technology-oriented.

  2. Projector idea that has the potential to grow commercially in a short duration of time.

  3. Ideas that are novel and fresh.

  4. Ideas that need skilled workers for designing and implementation.

How do Technology Incubators help the economy?

Technology incubators have specific objectives such as:-

  1. Encouraging and promoting technical entrepreneurship;

  2. Providing an opportunity for researches conducted by universities and higher educational institutes to be commercialized and introduced to the world of production.

  3. Promote and encourage cross-fertilizing technologies that are industrially viable – technologies like biotechnology, material sciences, etc.

  4. Contributing and creating local job and employment opportunities. Thereby combating unemployment issues.

  5. Handholding start-ups so that the survival rates of start-ups increase as well as they are able to scale up their businesses confidently.

  6. Provide guidance from industry experts and seasoned mentors for guaranteed success.

Features of a good technology incubator

  • Presence of experienced, specialized and skilled industry-specific management and workers.

  • Incubators that have astringent and strict exit policy for incubated firms.

  • Incubators that are directly linked with universities and research institutes.

  • Incubators that provide for pieces of training focussed on developing specific and key business skills like intellectual property, patents, licenses, raising debt, equity financing, etc.

  • Mentorship programs on a one-to-one basis, especially from industry specialists and experienced businessmen.

  • Provide ample opportunity and exposure to the incubated firm to attract investors and raise financial support towards its venture.

  • Handhold in implementing the business plan and evaluating it from time to time.

  • Provide for market research support and advice.

  • Connect the incubated firm directly with the concerned academic departments and members of the faculty who work or have worked in the relevant field.

  • Provide initial financial assistance in terms of salary to the entrepreneur and his team to support his self-employment initiative.

  • Arrange and provide for loans, grants and/or direct participation in the equity of the incubated firm.

Reliable and good technical incubators are backed by active participation from one or more regional universities. In this way, they are able to successfully promote university technology researches that are commercially viable and have the potential to create employment opportunities.

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