Catalyst - Winter 2009 - Nurturing New Businesses:New Jersey's Thriving Incubator System Aids Entrepreneurs
When it comes to the concept of collaboration, no one is doing it better than the vibrant incubators that make up the New Jersey Business Incubation Network (NJBIN). This collaborative state-wide community of business experts and resource facilities is dedicated to enhancing the commercial success of early stage entrepreneurial companies and growing higher paying jobs in New Jersey.
In fact, myriad financial and educational incentives draw entrepreneurs – most notably in the science and technology sectors – out of their basements and garages and into facilities where innovation lives and grows.
"I believe our business, technology and science incubators, are a critical resource for New Jersey," said Paula Fett, president of NJBIN. "Globally, they act as a tool for economic growth that ensures business acceleration and job creation. Incubation helps economically to depressed regions as well as hot growth areas and they do this through mentoring programs and networking, access to universities and human resources and, of course, low rent."
Through NJBIN incubators, early stage companies are provided critical support services including coaching, access to capital, technical and business resources and networking opportunities. The incubators offer flexible office or laboratory space in a professional business environment.
By "playing a pivotal role in New Jersey's economic growth strategy," Fett added, "incubators help to improve the success of early entrepreneurs."
"Urovalve, Inc. moved into EDC 3 @ NJIT in February 2004," said Harvey Holman. "One of the first objectives for me, as newly appointed president and CEO, was to transition the company from a `kitchen inventor's' enterprise to a true business. The EDC @ NJIT offered Urovalve office space in EDC 3 and excellent lab space in EDC 1."
Residents of the EDC, which houses the highest population of technology companies of any of the incubators, get office and lab space at competitive rates, with flexible leases. They share office machinery, which cuts down on costs, and have access to conference rooms and Internet hookups.
At the NJ Economic Development Authority's Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies (CCIT) in North Brunswick (the system's self-described bio incubator), residents get all that as well as well-equipped private labs and access to high-level equipment such as an autoclave and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in shared lab facilities, said Tim Lizura, senior vice president of EDA Business Development. The CCIT houses approximately 25 incubating companies and there is a waiting list of companies looking to move in.
ProFACT moved to the CCIT shortly after incorporating in November 2004. "Entry is competitive and it was our first choice among New Jersey incubators and the one commercial space available for startups," explained CEO David Golub. "It is excellent, well-tended, modern space, with turnkey features -- lab facilities, network communications, biopharma corridor locale, accessible to New York and Philadelphia, and near the N.J. Turnpike (our staff is from all over New Jersey and New York)."
All of the incubators' executive directors believe there are many reasons to locate a startup business in an incubator, and low rent certainly rates among the top benefits. But experienced CEOs know that choosing the right location for a new business can help speed the company to market – and reduce the cost of commercialization – by tapping into the wealth of people and information at the incubator and nearby university.
Incubator companies enjoy networking opportunities, business plan reviews and mentoring support, assistance with strategic alliances, partnerships, mergers, help with preparing grant and funding proposals, support for creating marketing, sales and promotional materials and assistance with recruiting staff and board members. However, one of the most exciting benefits of taking up shop in an incubator is the access to business and financial advisors.
"When it comes down to it, our incubator system offers many intangibles that really carry a business through to success," Fett said. "Money is important, but if you don't have all the tools in your toolbox you can't be successful. New Jersey's business incubators strive to make sure clients have those tools everyday."
EisnerAmper's Catalyst: Winter 2009
Welcome to Catalyst
Nurturing New Businesses
New Jersey's Thriving Incubator System Aids Entrepreneurs
A New Way of Thinking
Varied Funding Strategy Gives PTC Therapeutics 'Multiple Shots on Goal'
Fresh Ideas in Times of Economic Uncertainty
Life Science Financing: A Needle in a Haystack?
Investment Experts Weigh in on Myriad Funding Strategies
Venture Capital and Private Equity: Influencing Growth and Exit