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TO THE POINT

Earlier this year, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announced it would close its award-winning incubator after 30 years of operation. Read on to learn more details about how this long-running incubation program fell upon hard times.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute closes venerable incubation program

by Corinne Colbert

April/May 2010

On Feb. 5, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., announced that it was closing its incubation program — the first university-supported incubator in the U.S. — and gave the incubator’s 13 remaining clients six weeks to vacate the premises.

A week after the RPI announcement, the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency created a $50,000 relocation fund to help incubator clients find new homes within the county.

The news of the closure shocked those who have long known the program’s reputation for quality. Founded in 1980, the RPI Incubator Center “had been for many years the absolute epitome of a university incubator,” says Dinah Adkins, NBIA’s president emerita. She later told the Albany Times Union, “The closing of the RPI incubator is a travesty.”

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Keywords: best practices, budget – incubator, incubator failure, incubator management – general, sponsor, university partnerships

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