Overview of US Incubators and the Case of the Austin Technology Incubator

Business incubators have a 25-year history in the US. Today they number more than 800. Most are non-profit entities, many associated with universities. This article provides a general overview of business incubation in the US and provides a case study of the award-winning Austin Technology Incubator whose companies have generated over $1.4 billion in revenues and created some 3,000 jobs. The authors conclude that business incubators must accomplish five tasks well in order to succeed: (1) establish clear metrics for success; (2) provide entrepreneurial leadership; (3) develop and deliver valueadded services to member companies; (4) develop a rational new-company selection process; and (5) ensure that member companies gain access to necessary human and financial resources.