An incubator is a facility and/or program that provides
start-up companies with an environment and variety of
services to help them grow more quickly and more successfully.
- How does the UCFBIP compare/differ from other
The UCFBIP is a “full service” business incubator.
That means that we offer facilities for our clients as
well as comprehensive services to facilitate their growth
and success. Some incubators offer space but may offer
limited services. Others may be “virtual” in
that they do not offer space but offer an array of services
to support client companies. We have 5 locations that
offer various focuses from technology to mixed use.
The UCFBIP is housed in 5 incubator facilities in the Metro
Orlando Area. In addition, Seminole Community College
operates the Seminole Technology Business Incubation Center
(www.seminoleinc.com) in Sanford.
- Who sponsors the UCFBIP? How is the Incubator
We are financially sponsored by the University of Central
Florida, Orange County the City of Orlando, the Florida
High Tech Corridor, the city of Winter Springs, Seminole
County, Disney Entrepreneur Center, Metro Orlando Economic
Development Commission and the U.S. Economic Development
significant portion of our funding comes from rent that
we recover from our client companies. UCF provides a significant
amount of funding through the university's annual budget
as well as through support from some of the large research
initiatives such as nanotechnology.
- Where does the UCFBIP fit within UCF?
The Incubator is part of the Office of Research & Commercialization
lead by Dr. M. J. Soileau, Vice President for Research
& Commercialization. We sit “side-by-side” with
the Office of Sponsored Research and the Technology Transfer
program. That positioning makes it very easy to engage
in supporting commercialization of UCF innovations. It
also provides us the ability to work across the campus
with all the colleges and departments.
- What are the qualifications to be an incubator
The qualifications to apply to the Incubator are:
- The company must exist.....we accept companies; not
individuals with just ideas for a company.
- The business concept should be one that has the potential
to achieve significant growth.
- The company should have resources to support operations
for the first 6 months.
- The founders of the company must be willing to fully
participate in the Incubator program.
What is the application process?
The process officially starts with the completion and
submission of the application form which can be found
on the Incubator website. If Incubator management
has not already met with the company, a meeting is
scheduled. During that meeting, the company is able
to share more insights about the business concept
and founders and to learn more about the Incubator.
The second phase of the application
process is completion of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship
Certificate Course which is offered several times a year.
The 7 session, 21 hour course is designed to be a “crash
what it takes to plan and start a company. At the end
of the course, participating companies make presentations
to a panel of experienced business people who give the
Incubator feedback about the company. That feedback along
with everything else we have learned about the company
is used by the Selection Committee to decide whether or
not to accept an applicant.
- What services does the UCFBIP provide and how
are they provided?
We provide assistance with any need our clients have but
we focus heavily on the business aspects such as strategic
planning, capital strategies, legal advice, financial
services and advice, marketing and sales advice, human
resources issues and even technology resources as needed.
The assistance is provided a number of ways. Some of the
incubator staff provide business guidance to the clients
and meet with them regularly to assist with strategic
issues and connect clients with resources available through
The Incubator works with a number of professional service
providers in the community such as law firms, accounting
and CPA firms, marketing and advertising firms, investment
organizations, insurance companies and others that offer
products and services relevant to our clients. A number
of service providers come to the incubator periodically
and are available to meet with clients at no cost. Others
are available as needed to give some guidance and advice.
The initial assistance is provided free-of-charge to the
client. If more extensive services are needed, the client
is responsible for forming a fee-based relationship with
the service provider.
Press releases are provided for clients at no cost.
The Incubator also provides numerous education and networking
programs. We have a frequent schedule of seminars and
workshops conducted by experts on various topics. We also
partner with other organizations in town to provide networking
and education opportunities to our clients.
- Does the UCFBIP provide access to UCF resources?
We draw heavily on the UCF community for a variety of resources
for our clients. Some clients need additional research
expertise and we help them partner with research faculty
and staff. Many clients benefit from our relationship
with the co-op and internship program as well as the MBA
program to find very talented students to work in their
companies. Use of university labs and equipment can often
be arranged for a competitive rate. The UCF Library is
available to our clients and offers information research
services for market research or other information needs.
- What other organizations does the UCFBIP work
It's a long list! Our website lists many of the organizations
we partner with to make services available to our clients.
We are always adding to the pool of partners as we find
additional sources of expertise.
In the UCF community, we work closely with the Technology
Transfer Office, Venture Lab, College of Business, Coop
program, Library, the Small Business Development Center
and others as needed.
In the community, we work with many nonprofit small business
service providers and many professional service organization
and businesses that have relevant products and services.
- How much is the rent and what does it include?
Rent rates differ from one incubator facility to another
and currently range from $18.00 - $28.00 per square foot
per year. The rent includes utilities, high speed data
access and janitorial service. Phone services vary between
facilities but in most cases clients are responsible for
their own phone service from a commercial provider of
their choice as well as any furniture and/or equipment
they may need. There is no additional charge for all of
the invaluable counseling and coaching provided or for
attendance at Incubator educational program.
The lease is for one year. At the end of that year, we re-evaluate
together whether the partnership between the client and
Incubator is beneficial to both and whether or not to
renew the lease. However, if a client needs to increase
or reduce space or even move to a different Incubator
location during the year, we are very flexible in accommodating
that and will do so with no penalties to the client.
- What if a company doesn't need space but wants
We have two options….offsite and virtual client programs.
Offsite is for those clients that have their own office
space but would like to utilize our services. Virtual
client status is for those that are working out of their
home and are not yet ready to make the leap to full time
status with the company. Virtual clients usually end up
moving into the Incubator when they are farther along.
Both offside and virtual clients pay a $250/month services
fee and have access to everything the Incubator has to
- How long can a client stay in the Incubator?
Generally a client will be in and out in 3 years or less
which is what we like to see. Some may stay a little longer
and we will let them if they are making progress, utilizing
the Incubator program and still have a business focus
that meets our criteria.
Our objective is to graduate a client at the appropriate
time when they are ready to stand on their own.
Graduation is when a client company has matured to the point
that they do not need Incubator assistance regularly and
are ready to have their own facilities. Usually the company
has product in the market and has reached a level of financial
stability and employee growth that enables them to be
fully functional on their own. At that point, we assist
with finding sublease opportunities and access to other
services that may be needed as they transition into their
Graduation also takes place when a client company is acquired.
- What is the success rate for UCF clients?
Since opening 8 years ago, the UCFIP has served nearly 90
client companies. In December, 2007, 46 of those
companies were current clients and 27 had graduated. Incubator
industry statistics in general show that, for companies
that go through an incubator program, 70-80% will graduate
and go on to be growing, thriving companies. And
87% will still be in business 5 years after graduating.
Currently, UCFBIP has a similar success rate.