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Inside the (State) Lines: More States Are Gearing Up to Support Business Incubators

by Jennifer Agoston

April 1998

Findings from the Impact of Incubator Investments study, completed last fall by NBIA and its research partners, couldn't have come at a better time for the Long Island Regional Incubator Task Force (LIRITF). The State of New York assembled LIRITF in February 1996 to review and analyze the high-technology industries on Long Island and to make recommendations for the creation of incubators. Members of the group included economic developers, legislators, investors and incubator graduates.

After two years of analysis and negotiations LIRITF identified the need for incubators in the software, telecommunications, manufacturing, computer services and graphic design industries. Armed with the results of the Impact of Incubator Investments study, LIRITF pleaded its case with the state legislature. In March, Gov. George Pataki announced a $22 million initiative for the establishment of six new incubators on Long Island.

New York is the latest state to step up its support of business incubators, but many other states are also in the game. As a matter of fact, all but a handful offer some sort of assistance. The amount and type of support varies across state lines, but most comes in the form of funding provided directly to incubators to cover costs of feasibility studies, construction or renovations, daily operations or client assistance programs. A few states take a more novel approach, offering tax incentives and even, in at least one case, providing hands-on assistance to organizations developing incubators.

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Keywords: advocacy, budget -- incubator, economic development, economic impact of incubation, funding sources/fundraising -- incubator, impact of incubation, stakeholder development, stakeholder relationship management, effective communication, networking

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