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Incubator leverages regional incubation network

December 2011

Northeastern Ohio has come to be an icon of the so-called Rust Belt. It's an area where industry once thrived, but over time, various factors – high costs driving business overseas, regulations, concerns about pollution – closed the factories one after another. After a period of dormancy, that part of the world is coming back.

Leading the way are numerous business incubators, including MAGNET High Tech Business Incubation Program of Cleveland, run and staffed by David Crain. Opened in 2002, the program has graduated about 20 companies and currently houses 22 clients in a 25,000-square-foot facility, most in the manufacturing realm. The MAGNET incubator focuses on engineered products, helping companies through design and prototyping and onto the point where they're ready to put items out for bid to manufacturers.

Close collaboration among incubators throughout the region, via both informal and formal networks, such as the Northeast Ohio Incubator Collaborative, has allowed each program to specialize. "We all cooperate with each other," Crain says. "So, if a company would be a better fit at a different incubator, I send them over. The others send people to me if they think this is the right place for them." Indeed, he says, some companies have been clients at different incubators as their needs changed. "It's not the usual formula."

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Keywords: incubator networks, Incubator management-general

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