Local Tech Parks Recognized as Top Business Incubators


There is a business incubator renaissance happening, have you noticed it?  There are a plethora of incubators, accelerators, proof-of-concept, and what ever else you want to call it, being built all over the US.  Forbes estimates that tree are more than 300 business incubators in the US, many of which are attached to Universities.

We have seen the movement here in our community.  Yesterday I had a chance to meet with the folks at the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), a U of C business incubator. They are entering the final stages of construction and provided me with a tour of the facility. John Flavin has done a great job of pushing that project to completion and they are slated to open doors in October.

Last month I hosted a reception at MATTER, which is still pre-construction but the community came out to get a sneak peak at the raw space and draft designs.

HTI, attached to UIC, celebrated opening its doors last month. Kapila Viges has done a great job of launching that facility and programs. Under the direction of UI VPR Larry Schook, EnterpriseWorks Chicago and HTI have built a strong partnership with AbbVie, taking space in HTI to build a stronger connection with the University. On August 25 we will be hosting a BBQ to build stronger community connections with HTI. 

Forbes recently recognized 12 of the top business incubators in the US making a difference in 10 of the top innovation hubs of the US.  Our community had two of the top 12 incubators on Forbes List.

The Technology Innovation Center

Evanston, Il
TIC houses 36 companies and has nurtured 350 technology companies in the last 25 years. In the last two painful years TIC graduates managed to scare up $48 million in funding. Graduates include Peapod, the ubiquitous online grocery service, which went public in the dot-com boom, and The Whitewater Group, which developed a precursor to Microsoft’s Windows and was acquired by Symantec.

The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, Il
This facility is unique in that it combines established firms and start-ups under one roof. Big firms with outposts here include Yahoo!, Sony, Abbott Laboratories and Qualcomm, among others. Along with these giants, 40 start-ups are housed here at any one time. The companies here employ more than 400 student interns from an engineering school that produced modern Internet browsing (Mosaic and then Netscape) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.