New Innovation Hub program assists hopeful entrepreneurs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Innovation Hub at UF has launched â€śThe Hatchery,â€ť a new incubator program to help aspiring entrepreneurs fine-tune concepts for technology-based businesses and turn these ideas into startup companies.
â€śBudding entrepreneurs will gain round-the-clock access to a collaborative working environment, where they can benefit from educational seminars, networking opportunities and personalized advice from experts,â€ť said Innovation Hub Director Jane Muir.
The program, which costs $400 for three months of mentorship, events and collaborative workspace, has rolling application deadlines. Companies that meet or exceed performance goals are eligible for a one-time renewal.
â€śWeâ€™re very excited about The Hatchery,â€ť said Gayle Dykeman, the Innovation Hubâ€™s building manager. â€śThis is a great program for individuals who may have an idea for a business but havenâ€™t yet thought about incorporating or renting office space. They can experience the creative collision of the Innovation Hub without making a long-term commitment.â€ť
An experienced entrepreneur will serve as a â€śMentor in Residenceâ€ť to Hatchery entrepreneurs, providing advice on strategic and tactical approaches to starting technology-based companies.
Resident partners and service providers, including accountants, attorneys and venture capitalists also donate their time and sponsor educational workshops, which will be available to Hatchery participants.
â€ťThe Hatchery is for entrepreneurs who would like to locate in the Innovation Hub but havenâ€™t quite developed their business concept enough to qualify,â€ť Muir said. â€śThis program enables us to provide them with the help they need to become a viable business entity.
â€śWe see many budding entrepreneurs who want to start a company but often find the transition between simply having a great idea and actually forming a company around it rather difficult. By offering entrepreneurs a wide range of resources and support, we can make the much less daunting.â€ť
Built with an $8.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and a $5 million contribution from UF, the 48,000-square-foot Innovation Hub opened in October 2011 as the first building in Innovation Square, a 24/7/ live/work/play research community. It is one of the only incubators in the nation to house a leading university technology-transfer office, service providers and other partner organizations, such as UF Tech Connect and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, which nurture high-tech companies.
In the first 10 months, the Innovation Hubâ€™s two dozen startup companies created 85 jobs and secured $7.2 million in private investment.
Contact Dykeman at email@example.com or 352-273-4819 for a Hatchery application or to learn more about the program.
- Kathryn Gerlach
- Jane Muir, firstname.lastname@example.org