What is an incubator?
Business incubators are entities whose purpose is to provide support to entrepreneurs in developing innovative ideas and transforming them into successful projects. To this end, they offer infrastructure, training and management support, orienting entrepreneurs on administrative, commercial, financial and legal aspects, among other issues that are essential to the development of a company.
There are several types of incubators: technology-based incubators (home to projects that are using technology); traditional incubators (support companies of traditional sectors of the economy); mixed incubators (accept both technology-based and traditional sector projects) and social incubators (whose target audience are cooperatives and community associations).
According to a study carried out in 2011 by Anprotec in partnership with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) launched in 2012, Brazil has 384 incubators in operation, which benefit 2,640 companies and generate 16,394 jobs. These incubators have graduated 2,509 projects, currently generating revenue of R$4.1 billion and 29,205 jobs.
Which benefits do incubators offer to entrepreneurs?
By supporting entrepreneurs, incubators increase the chances of their projects being successful. In addition to favorable infrastructure and entrepreneur training conditions, companies – due to being in an environment where there are various innovative projects of the same size – benefit from enhanced networking, favoring business growth and the access to the market.
In the case of technology-based companies, entrepreneurs have also access to universities and research and development institutions, with which many incubators maintain a partnership. This helps reduce the costs and risks of the innovation process, as it allows access to laboratories and equipment that would require high investments.
How can a company be part of an incubator?
To join an incubator, the company needs to go through a selection process. The selection criteria vary according to each incubator, but we can say that the most important prerequisite is innovation. According to the study conducted in 2011 by Anprotec in partnership with the MCTI, 98% of the incubated companies innovate, of which 15% at international level, 55% nationally and 28% locally.
What is an incubated company?
It is a project that is going through the incubation process, that is, which is receiving support of an incubator for its development. The company may be a resident incubated company (when it occupies a space inside the building of the incubator) or a non-resident incubated company (when it has its own headquarters, but is supported by the incubator).
The average incubation period is three years. This period, however, varies according to the project’s characteristics. Communication and information technology companies tend to have a shorter incubation period than biotechnology companies, for example, as they work with technologies that have a shorter development cycle. The important thing is that the project, after graduating, is prepared for the market. During the incubation process, incubators do a periodic follow-up to assess the companies’ level of development.
What is an incubator graduate company?
It is a company that went through the incubation process, that is, which received support from an incubator and already has sufficient skills to operate by itself. The company, after graduation, can continue to be associated with the incubator, but can no longer be in the physical space of the institution.
What is a science park?
A science park is formally planned science and technology service and industrial production complex of a cooperative nature, which unites companies whose production is based on technological research developed in the park’s R&D centers. It acts as a promoter of the culture of innovation, competitiveness and increase of business capabilities, based on knowledge and technology transfer with the goal of fostering the production of wealth in a particular region.
What are the benefits offered by science parks?
The science parks benefit the projects they host – as well as the region and the economy as a whole – by creating an environment of cooperation between innovative companies and science and technology institutions. The parks offer high value-added services to companies, facilitate the flow of knowledge and technology, create qualified jobs and enhance culture and entrepreneurial activity. In addition, they encourage the formation of clusters of innovation and competitiveness in the region where they are located.