Business Incubators and Innovation Centres can provide support for fast growing businesses. In researching an up-to-date listing we have found some are more responsive and understand the needs of young companies better than others. The list below is a good place to start.
- What is a Business Incubator or Innovation Centre?
- Where can I find one?
- Regional list of incubators/innovation centres
What is a Business Incubator or an Innovation Centre?
Business incubators are sometimes also called Innovation Centres, they both will provide office space, infrastructure such as telephones & broadband and access to expertise. They may also have good connections to sources of funding, but are seldom themselves business investors.
The types of companies that find business incubators most helpful tend to be high-tech, or knowledge based businesses. Most businesses that use an incubator will stay there for up to a year, but by then should have grown sufficiently to move into their own facilities, although some incubators have access to accommodation and resources, say on a neighbouring science park, that nurtured companies could move into.
Business Incubators and Innovation Centres may reside within University grounds, be based in a Science Park, or be free standing. They shouldn't though be confused with the main Science Park or even Business Parks. Both of which tend to be for established companies, paying commercial rates.
Incubators do charge for the facilities and resources that they supply, but since nearly all are supported in some manner by government or regional grants, the charges are subsidised and lower than in the marketplace.
Where can I find one?
Perhaps because many are regionally funded, or because a young company would require such a facility to be local to them, they are mostly identified by region. They also often have ties to a University and so have a catchment area local to the University. However, if you are prepared to set up business in their region, there is no reason not to apply to any of them.
Regional list of Business Incubators & Innovation Centres
We've organised a list of incubators by region. If you see that we have missed one out, please let us know. Most lists that we have seen elsewhere have been very much out of date, we'd like to keep this one useful and live.
- Yorkshire and the Humber
List of Business Incubators & Innovation Centres
1. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in Scotland
University of Glasgow Business Incubator
Dr Sylvia Morrison
Research and Enterprise
10 The Square
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, UK, G12 8QQ
The business incubator unit aims to support new company formation by providing a nurturing environment for young start-up and spin-out technology companies. This support in the early years facilitates survival and growth, encouraging them to reach their full potential.
The University operates two technology incubation units:
* The CIDS Biomedical Incubator on the main Gilmorehill Campus
* The Technology Complex on the Garscube Campus
The objective of the incubators is to promote and support interaction between medical, veterinary medical, biosciences, and engineering disciplines leading to research grants, research contracts, patents and commercial licensing, and company formation. Tenant companies currently tend to be involved in highly innovative diagnostics development, screening technologies, drug development, and bioscience services.
Alba Innovation Centre
Senior Innovation Manager
Livingston, EH54 7GA
Alba Innovation Centre is committed to supporting the development and accelerating the growth of the next generation of innovative, knowledge based, high growth technology businesses in the East of Scotland and was recognised in 2010 for its excellent incubation facilities by achieving developing status in the UKBI Inspire accreditation scheme.
Apart from Office Accommodation and Facilities, they also provide an Advisory Service. With a vast range of experience in the technology marketplace, the innovation advisory support service looks at all aspects of your business from intellectual property and legal services to marketing and sales.
The innovation advisory support process provides a full in-depth review of the funding options available including grant funding and raising equity.
The majority of tenants currently located in the Centre provide a range of technology software and hardware solutions.
Hillington Park Innovation Centre
1 Ainslie Road
Glasgow, UK, G52 4RU
Hillington Park Innovation Centre is one of the fastest-growing technology incubators of its kind in Europe.
Dozens of Scottish companies have benefited from the innovation centre's ground-breaking business support techniques, based in a top-class facility near Glasgow Airport. Hillington was recognised in 2010 for its excellent incubation facilities by achieving leading edge status in the UKBI Inspire accreditation scheme.
This is much more than a managed property facility. As one of the leading business incubators for innovative technology businesses in the UK, Hillington Park Innovation Centre provides an enabling environment, within which businesses receive:
* In-house intensive advisory support;
* The opportunity for creative development and networking with other businesses;
* Access to a network of successful entrepreneurs and specialist expert knowledge.
The majority of companies based at the Centre are working in the software, energy and digital media sectors.
Strathclyde University Incubator Limited
Strathclyde University Incubator Ltd
50 Richmond Street
Glasgow, G1 1XP
The first foothold in the commercial world is widely regarded as the most difficult for any company, but nearly 120 start-up and early stage businesses have successfully taken that crucial step with help from SUI. High-flying performers include Microlase, one of SUI?s first clients (involved in Opto-electronics) who later merged to become part of Coherent; Vibtech Limited which recently sold for approximately £40m; Yellowfin who developed a revolutionary propulsion system; Cascade Technologies, who have been developing real time gas detection systems, Centeo Biosciences, a medical device start up in the area of protein crystallisation and Deliverics Limited, a recent spin out from a major University involved in the area of reagents. In all, companies emerging from the Incubator have gone on to create over 500 jobs within these early stage companies.
A pioneering company in its own right, SUI was Scotland?s original business incubator, launched in January 1990. Since then SUI has worked primarily, but not exclusively, with technology-led businesses, providing a professional environment conducive to sustainable growth. The broad range of support services includes assistance in raising funding, business plan development and expert office management. Access to such practical back-up and SUI?s proven ability to tap into relevant commercial experience gives clients greater freedom to focus on growing their business.
SUI has also established its own spin-out venture, Upstarts, which invests pre-start businesses, in order to bring them to a stage that allows them to attract further equity investment from larger financial organisations. This investment vehicle is now syndicated with WideBlue and Innova Partnerships Ltd and invests up to £250,000 in early stage and pre-start businesses. This investment can be match funded by the Scottish Co Investment Fund, of which Upstarts is an approved partner.
2. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in Wales
Wales is fortunate in having good support for it's business incubator and innovation centres. Most of the support centres in Wales are called Techniums and there are 10 of these specialist innovation centres across Wales to support high technology, creative and knowledge-based businesses, mostly focusing on the country's high-growth sectors such as Performance Engineering, Sustainable Technologies and ICT.
Below are details of those that have responded to our request for information and so are likely to be most responsive to your needs.
Dr Mark Bowman
Director of Innovation
Cardiff Medicentre is a dedicated medical, healthcare and life-sciences business incubator. It is located on the campus of the University Hospital of Wales and offers:- Easy-in, easy-out leases;
- Units from 284 sq. ft. to 1045 sq. ft.;
- Desk licensing facilities for pre-starts;
- Access to academic expertise;
- Manned reception;
- 24 hour access, 365 days a year;
- Secure parking;
- Controlled security systems.
Cardiff Medicentre is an ideal place to locate your medical, healthcare or life-sciences company.
David G Thomas
Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park
Technium Pembrokeshire is an innovation centre near Pembroke Dock in West Wales, supporting young science and technology businesses across a range of industry sectors. They specialise in supporting companies looking to exploit renewable and sustainable energy resources.
Providing state of the art office accommodation, communications and Internet access, with a package of business support. Entry is by application and matched funding finance packages are available to successful applicants.
Technium Springboard is located in Llantarnam Park, Cwmbran, South Wales, just 4 minutes from the M4 motorway. The Innovation Centre provides accommodation for young science and technology businesses and offers flexible modern office units with direct access to a range of specialist business support services.
They help new and early-stage science and technology businesses overcome obstacles to success and provide an environment where they can prosper.
The University of Glamorgan's business incubator (GTi)
Business Incubation Manager
Valleys Innovation Centre
The University of Glamorgan's (Trefforest, South East Wales) business incubation facility, GTi, has been in operation since 2002, and is located on Navigation Park, Abercynon. GTi provides support to entrepreneurs pre and post business start-up. The facility is open to staff, students, graduates and entrepreneurs with the aim of removing some of the barriers associated with developing a business idea, and taking it to market.
GTi offers shared or hotdesking office facilities, direct support and signposting to appropriate sources of advice, mentoring and coaching as the landscape of business support in Wales evolves and changes. GTi provides a shared professional office environment, a credible business address, access to meeting rooms and the normal range of office equipment.
Venture Wales set itself one purpose - to help make your business successful. Assistance is available, totally free of charge. At their Business Incubation Facility in their Abercynon office are the following :- Ad hoc use of confidential workstation plus secure personal locker
- Free use of a telephone to make your business related calls, e.g. to funders, supplies, etc
- Free access to and use of a broadband connection to the internet
- Access to confidential meeting facilities
- Ongoing access to your personal Venture Wales business adviser
3. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the North West
Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency (CREA)
Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency
Lake District Business Park
At the Penrith site CREA has 12 Business Incubation Units catering for businesses in the creative and knowledge-based sectors, with easy in, easy out terms based on a license to use rather than a lease.
The site also has dedicated food production kitchens for businesses in the food sector. These have the same easy in, easy out terms, and in addition are also available on a day-rent basis. Food businesses can be expensive to set up, with high standards required for premises and equipment. When a food business is starting out the premises and equipment can often lay idle for most of time whilst the owners are out selling at markets etc. By day-renting the business can get off the ground and generate income from the start.
University of Manchester Incubator (UMIC)
Dr. Martino Picardo
The Incubator Building
48 Grafton Street
The University of Manchester Incubator Company (UMIC) provides facilities management and business support services to incubated companies either spun out from the University, or from the local environment. They have over 75 SMEs in their portfolio which stretches across all market sectors but including ICT, Technology and with a focus on Biomedical and Health.
InfoLab21, Northwest Centre of Excellence for ICT
Knowledge Business Centre
Tel: 01524 510440
InfoLab21 is a world-class research, development and business centre in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). They offer technology businesses an ideal location, award winning facilities, an ICT sector specific supportive environment and the opportunity to join a unique international community of ICT researcher and businesses. Their School of Computing and Communications has over 270 academic and research staff, making InfoLab21 one of the largest ICT research establishments in Europe. There is a team of technology transfer experts who work with a network of over 500 SMEs as part of the InfoLab21 Associate Company Scheme and also work with global brands including Microsoft, Nokia, BAE Systems, SAP, BT and Ford.
InfoLab21 offers a flexible mixed portfolio of working scenarios, providing access to Lancaster University's internationally prominent knowledge base and enabling businesses to work with their experts to develop new products and processes. They offer working space for each size and budget ranging from Italian Incubation pods, to rooms for 2 or over 15 people, 10 to 90 square metres. The resident businesses range from University spin-out companies to international companies.
Innospace Operations Manager
Innospace is Manchester Metropolitan University's incubator for business startups & new enterprises - the perfect city centre base for businesses to progress.
They offer professional office space, meeting rooms, entrepreneur community and networking, business support and training events right in the centre of Manchester - all to help you develop your business ideas and build your success
University of Central Lancashire (Northern Lights)
4th Floor Business Incubation Space
University of Central Lancashire
The Business Incubation Unit is based on the 4th Floor of the University's state-of-the-art Media Factory building. A suite of individual office units ranging from 19 to 55sq.m. and a spacious open plan work area with shared free "hot-desking" or "rent-a-desk" options means the needs and budgets of a wide range of start-up and early stage businesses can be accommodated. Specialist resources for Media businesses, including studios and editing suites.
The Daresbury Innovation Centre
Daresbury Innovation Centre
The Daresbury Innovation Centre is situated at the heart of the Daresbury Science & Innovation Campus (Daresbury SIC). Having rapidly become a magnet for world class science and innovation, this stunningly designed building provides a superb location for high-tech SMEs and forms the focal point of the powerful Daresbury SIC network. There are currently 100 companies based here.
4. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the North East
The North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC)
North East Business & Innovation Centre
Enterprise Park East
Sunderland, SR5 2TA
The BIC is an organisation which exists to service businesses of all sizes. Experienced advisers help hundreds of new enterprises to start up each year, and the 14-acre BIC site can accommodate over 160 companies in purpose-built offices and work spaces.
The new Jupiter Centre at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), part of the Sunderland Software City project, offers the ultimate location for software companies to locate and grow.
5. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in Yorkshire and the Humber
Queen Square Business Quarter (QU2)
15 Queen Square
Queen Square Business Quarter (QU2) is part of Leeds Metropolitan University and is a well established business incubator set in grade 2 listed buildings in a quiet leafy square right in the heart of Leeds. They support early stage businesses through the first 3 years of trading increasing their chances of success from 50 - 95%.
QU2 support a wide range of businesses across all different sectors. They provide reasonably priced virtual offices and private office space. They also include one to one business support and a wide range of training to accelerate the growth and increase sustainability of early stage businesses. QU2 have operated now for 9 years supporting over 420 start up businesses, creating over 1,100 jobs, collectively turning over in excess of £42 million.
Hull University Business School - Incubator
Tel: 01482 347556
Businesses starting out in Hull are able to take advantage of affordable, flexible and high-quality business incubator units, thanks to Hull University Business School.
Based within the high-profile address of the Logistics Institute, businesses are able to access a range of resources and benefits including maintained IT and telephone facilities, use of meeting rooms and the Technology Showcase, and a discounted rate on use of development laboratories, rooms within the school and Logistics Institute events.
Current incubator clients include international security experts Horner International, driver training academy Carmichael Training Ltd and procurement specialists BCG Bridgepoint Ltd.
6. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the West Midlands
SP/ARK, Creative Industries Centre
Wolverhampton Science Park
Wolverhampton, WV10 9TG
SP/ARK Business Incubation Centre provides a modern supported office environment for new start creative and technology businesses in the West Midlands.
SP/ARK aim to develop individual talent, skills and personality to give each business the best possible start. With its location right at the doorsteps of the University of Wolverhampton and the city centre, it provides prestigious business incubation units dedicated to supporting new businesses.
7. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the East Midlands
There is not a contact available, since this is a central web site for East Midlands Incubators. Refer to individual contacts shown for each Incubator on their list.
The East Midlands has a central web site, called EMIN, which lists all the Incubator centres in the area.
EMIN is a not-for-profit organisation run by a management team on behalf of the Universities of Derby, De Montfort, Leicester, Lincoln, Northampton and Nottingham Trent.
To access some of the other services that EMIN provides, you will need to register on their site.
8. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the East
My Incubator at the btc
My Incubator - Stevenage is designed to support innovative businesses. They work to ensure that you are ready to sell your product, raise money or become investor ready. They will also connect you to other individuals with whom you can network.
Clients working with a My Incubator advisor have access to facilities free of charge for the first three months:
* A hot desk
* Telephony and broadband
* A Mailbox and telephone message service
* Ongoing mentoring from a dedicated advisor, who will:
- Review your business plan
- Explore market opportunities at a very early stage
- Advise on the various methods of funding a project
- Provide introductions to experts such as academics or business angels
- Identify support professionals, through their extensive business network
St. John's Innovation Centre
St John's Innovation Centre
St John's Innovation Centre offers business address and serviced office accommodation services to early start businesses. A full business incubation service is offered to tenant companies, incorporating a range of business support, training and advisory services.
The philosophy of the Innovation Park is to provide security and flexibility to tenants, and the Centre therefore offers renewable leases for up to three years with the option to break on one month's notice. Individual units - which can range in size from 10 to 500 sq.m.
9. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the South West
The SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre
SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre
The SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre is an award-winning business incubator that works with early-stage, high-tech, high-growth businesses regardless of origin or ownership. They use coaching, mentoring, workshops, signposting, investment readiness training, investor showcase events and access to a world-class network of expertise to accelerate a businesses, backed up by low-lost office space in Central Bristol.
10. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in the South East
The Sussex Innovation Centre (SInC)
Sussex Innovation Centre
University of Sussex
Science Park Square
The Sussex Innovation Centre, SInC, is a specialist technology business incubator based at the University of Sussex. In addition to high standard and flexible business accommodation, SInC is well known for its entrepreneurial environment and its practical business support services.
Key features include an innovation support team with specialists in strategy, sales, marketing, finance, IP and operations, plus a back-office accounts and payroll group. SInC's speciality is taking new companies and products into the market, finding first customers and in giving technologists the confidence to grow their business.
11. Business Incubators & Innovation Centres in London
Projects and Operations Manager
35 Kingsland Road
London, E2 8AA
Accelerator is a specialist business incubator, in Shoreditch, at the heart of London's ICT and digital media hub. They specialise in business development programs for high value, innovative, growing businesses in information and communication technology, interactive media, e-learning and design. Accelerator is part of The London Enterprise Office which is the entrepreneurial arm of London Metropolitan University.
East London / Small Business Centre
East London / Small Business Centre
88-94 Wentworth Street
A London-based, not-for-profit support agency for small businesses. They are committed to helping anyone who wants to get started in business unlock their entrepreneurial talent. They also support existing businesses to grow and prosper.
Every year they help start-up over 300 new businesses, through their comprehensive business support services including business training courses, one to one business advice, loans for last resort and help raising finance from other lenders. They also offer low-cost business premises (incubator units) in two great locations in east London: Aldgate East and Stratford.
Spaces range from 90-480sqft, and come with internet access, desk rental and an easy in/easy out tenancy (no long leases). An additional benefit for the businesses, both new and existing is having experienced business counsellors nearby.
The London BioScience Innovation Centre (LBIC)
Dr Ken Larkin
Deputy Chief Executive
London BioScience Innovation Centre
2, Royal College Street
The London BioScience Innovation Centre (LBIC) provides a focus for life sciences activity in the UK capital, offering laboratory and office facilities of an exceptionally high standard and a professional front door that cannot fail to impress. Owned by the prestigious Royal Veterinary College, LBIC is home to over 30 biotechnology and life science companies in central London, including small start-ups and more established players.
They attract biotechnology, life science product and diagnostic companies, contract research organisations, medical device companies and service providers. LBIC clients benefit from shared networking space and meeting rooms as well as close proximity to the various financial services available throughout the Capital. The management team is experienced in building and supporting biotechnology businesses.