Monday, October 16, 2006
OU INCubator gives birth to businessOU alum advises start-up entrepreneurs
Oakland University has a new technology-based incubator, but it has nothing to do with growing eggs. It is giving birth to new ideas and nurturing the growth of new businesses, which will ultimately foster good health within the local and state economy.
Oakland University's SmartZone Business Incubator (OU INC), housed on campus in the Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion, provides entrepreneurs with a unique environment to start up, establish and grow successful businesses. OU INC offers flexible office space, professional business services, and access to capital and business development programs and resources. Its connection with the university enables OU INC clients to work with faculty and students and utilize research centers to help them with applied research, technology development, and commercialization at a moderate cost.
“We just opened our doors this April and we’re very optimistic about our future,” said OU INC Executive Director David Spencer. “We researched similar incubators around the country and discovered some great success stories. We think our incubator offers start-up firms an edge because of its association with the university. In addition to state-of-the-art on-campus labs, faculty expertise and student interns, our clients will also receive guidance from a customized, volunteer “kitchen cabinet” consisting of 6 to 10 executives.”
According to Spencer, new business start-ups tend to have a low rate of success, especially those focused on life science and new technologies due to the specialized, highly technical expertise required. However, statistics suggest incubators can improve the curve for many new companies. For example, 87 percent of all incubator graduate firms are still in business five years later, compared to 50 to 60 percent of non-incubated start-ups. Also, 84 percent of incubator businesses remain in the community after graduating from an incubator, boosting the local economy.
Spencer believes the success of the incubator will be felt on campus, as well. “OU INC gives faculty members an opportunity to spin out their intellectual property and provides students with employment and internship opportunities. It brings business leaders to the university. This is a special place where a company can move from concept to commercialization,” he said.
If you would like to help foster business growth by volunteering your professional guidance to the incubator, or if you or someone you know could use the services of OU INC, please contact Dr. David Spencer, executive director of OU INCubator at email@example.com or by calling (248) 648-4800.