CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A study of business incubators across the state of Illinois reveals that efforts to support entrepreneurship are robust and growing – but the ecosystem could benefit from more collaboration and knowledge-sharing.
The report includes a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the diverse range of activities undertaken by Illinois incubators: their distinctive missions, economic needs and technological opportunities. It also reveals best practices.
The report was commissioned by the East Central Illinois University Center at the University of Illinois, which is funded by the EDA. Faculty and students from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning interviewed and researched 18 incubators around the state.
The incubators included in the study have one (or more) of the following mandates:
· to support the development of high-technology industries
· to commercialize the innovations of affiliated universities
· to support entrepreneurship in regions with significant economic development challenges.
“Geography plays a huge role in the types of businesses incubators attract,” said Marc Doussard, assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, who led the study. “Best practices may vary based on institutional origin and location, but challenges and opportunities can be similar despite such differences.”
Incubators in the study indicated that they were minimally networked with others in the state, suggesting that a more formal statewide incubator network to facilitate knowledge sharing could strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial base.
A summary of the Illinois Incubator Study is available online.