Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Fostering Regional Innovation Accelerators

Magazine article The Small Business Advocate

Fostering Regional Innovation Accelerators

Article excerpt

Creating jobs and growing businesses from the ground up are top goals of communities around the nation. While many governmentled development models attempt to achieve this (for instance using tax credits to compete with large businesses), an opposite, ground-up approach has taken hold around the country-nurturing the talent and resources of local entrepreneurs through business incubators and accelerators.

Business incubators and accelerators provide tools to help entrepreneurs launch and scale the businesses that will contribute to job creation and economic growth. These organizations may provide working space, training, access to equipment, seed capital, community, or connections to a network of other key players (investors, customers, collaborators and competitors). They bring energy and excitement to the challenge of channeling entrepreneurial adrenaline into successful businesses. The possibility of nurturing the next business breakthrough feeds a buzz of potential.

The themes of community, putting people first, and multiple bottom lines, echoed in the panel, "Fostering Regional Innovation Accelerators. " Panelists from five states in the region shared tales of frustration and success at nurturing innovators and startups in what some call "the flyover states."

Ann Simon, head of the economic development program of the Mid-Region Council of Governments in Albuquerque, N.M., discussed the broad challenges of her region.

Josh O'Brien, director of entrepreneurial development for Oklahoma City's i2E, Inc., described their success at focusing on biotechnology.

Kevin Koym is CEO of Tech Ranch Austin, the starting place for early-stage entrepreneurs who want to launch or grow their tech startup. …

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