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Where are all the Incubators?

Posted By North Iowa Area Community College _, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It is estimated only 3% of all community colleges currently have some form of business incubation.  If you were in the business of job creation and knew of the research from the Kauffman Center report stating ‘all net new jobs, came from new business starts ups’, why has there not been a more concerted efforts to look to community colleges to be an integral part of business incubation.   

If you were a business and had locations across the country as this map indicates and your business was to create more jobs, why would new business incubation not be one of your strategies?   

Today, there are numerous business incubation models which could fit the needs of just about every community college in the country.   There are traditional brick and mortar incubators, incubators without walls, virtual incubators, co-working spaces, innovation centers, Fab Labs, research centers and the list could go on.   

So with the variations of incubators and with over 1,200 community colleges across the nation, who are educating around 13m students and why is there not a critical mass of business incubators in the community college system?    

A starting point:  AACC and the Mott Foundation joined forces with NACCE, NBIA, SBA and 11 diverse community colleges to create the Virtual Incubation Tool Kit.  This tool kit can be a very good starting point for any community college to look into incubation.   

Having just attended the NBIA conference in Boston (#NBIAConf), I found the conference a meeting point for experts in various fields of incubation, providing an intensive level of networking and a willingness to collaborate.  For all the NACCE aficionado’s,  I would say that this has also been true of my NACCE experiences as well.   

Now enter the new president and CEO of NBIA, Jasper Welch, whose experience includes directing  the San Juan College Enterprise Center, a mixed-use incubation program in Farmington, N.M., for 12 years. His passion for community colleges really shows.   

The stars are starting to align for community colleges to be able to become a juggernaut for new business creation and job growth.   What say you? 

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