The role of incubators in feeding and sustaining a regional entrepreneurial support system is the focus of a fascinating blog entry by Pat Whalen, the COO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus:
In 2010 we opened [our supporting member] the Thomas R. Beecher, Jr., Innovation Center as a place for start-up companies. At that time, there were two companies in the building. Today, we have over 60 companies in the building, and all but two are still managed by their founders. We also have companies that provide business support to the entrepreneurs such as: attorneys, creative services, technology and finance. While renting or leasing space to start ups is risky business, it is vital to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. However, providing space is really just the tip of our mission. Our mission is to help the entrepreneurs grow their enterprises and ultimately âgraduateâ. By doing this well, we create tenants for area real estate developers. . . . Iâm so proud of this collaborative environment we have created here, and itâs working! To date, we have three successful âgraduateâ companies from the suites and are working to launch one more in the coming months. Three of the four companies have gone on to other commercial real estate around the city.
A serial entrepreneur who has started more than 20 companies and sold one to a Fortune 50, Pat is the champion of the Innovation Center and its co-working space d!g. He’s joining our board of directors this year. For the full blog entry, go here.