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Montpellier Business and Innovation Center

Montpellier, France

Patricia Reeb, director

Year established: 1987

Incubator size: 95,000 square feet

Incubator clients: 61 pre-incubation projects; 64 start-ups; 6 developing companies

Incubator graduates: More than 370

www.entreprendre-montpellier.com/

Achievements: When the founders of Montpellier Business and Innovation Center decided to launch a technology incubator nearly 20 years ago, they faced a challenge: introducing a region with little industrial experience to the then-new concept of business incubation. "There was nearly no corporate culture here at all, and there were no major industrial partners to help us get started," says Patricia Reeb, incubator director. "We had to innovate and focus on the vast potential hidden in universities and research labs, counting on a new generation of entrepreneurs at a time when start-up companies had not yet become fashionable."

Montpellier did have two things going for it: a prime location in close proximity to seven higher educational institutions in the Mediterranean region and the unwavering support of the Montpellier Agglomeration, the local government organization that launched the program. "The Montpellier Agglomeration’s ongoing support, bolstered by real results and regular communications, enabled us to meet our objectives without any major obstacles," Reeb says. "The workload grew progressively."

Today, Montpellier BIC operates two incubation facilities: Cap-Alpha, which serves life science companies, and Cap-Omega, which assists ICT companies. The incubator also is committed to serving entrepreneurs at all stages of business development. Montpellier offers a pre-incubation program for entrepreneurs whose ventures are still in the planning stage, and in 2005, the incubator began assisting established companies with innovative development plans. "Montpellier BIC has been a strategic part of the local policy and economic outlook since 1987, seeking to make the area an economically dynamic place where positive conditions create jobs and value," Reeb says.

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