The Research Office

Wilson Hall
371 Wilson Boulevard
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4486
(location map)
(248) 370-2762
(248) 370-4111
[email protected]

A man seated at a computer in a lab with a woman standing next to him, pointing at the screen.

Business Incubator

The University’s on-campus business incubator, OU INC SmartZone, provides entrepreneurs with an invaluable resource for beginning businesses and plays a significant role in the local community.

The incubator is an integral component of OU’s regional economic development efforts. It is a nexus for local business activities: economically priced startup costs, educational programs, mentorship, networking, access to investors, etc.

In terms of strategic advice and direction for client companies, OU INC engages multiple mentors/domain experts that can assist companies in management areas and business strategy. Clients also have access to OU INC’s facilities and educational programs.

Importantly, entrepreneurs have access to the State of Michigan’s economic development and support programs directed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, such as the Business Acceleration Fund. BAF grants (up to $50,000) are available only to participating SmartZone business incubators and accelerators such as OU INC.  Funds are used toward the delivery of highly specialized services to their clients that are not otherwise available from business incubators or accelerators.

The incubator has tenant companies that lease space and affiliate companies that utilize incubator services without leasing space. Tenant and affiliate companies pay a low fee to access services. The incubator is constantly broadening its focus areas, adding industry-specific mentors, domain-experts, and OU alumni with needed skills/ background.

The local economic impact of OU’s assisting small business over the last 6 years is over $150 million.

The incubator is host to diverse types of high-technology companies and has focus areas:

  • Alternative Energy
  • Advanced / Additive Manufacturing
  • Advanced Automotive
  • Advanced Technology Innovations
  • IT & Digital Technologies
  • Medical Devices
  • Mobility Technologies