Frequently Asked Questions
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Find the answers here to:

  • What is the difference between Virtual-based and Facility-based business incubators?
  • What does the BIWA! Resource Kit offer?
  • What are the business incubation support organizations?
  • How is a business incubator financed?
  • How does a business incubator support my community?


What is the difference between Virtual-based and Facility-based business incubators?

Facility-based Model:

  • This is the most common type of incubator and provides the physical space in which clients can operate. In addition, it offers various other services, such as entrepreneurial training, networking support, professional services, shared services and access to capital. For Facility-based Models, some revenue is usually generated through flexible lease arrangements with the tenants. See the Northern Alberta Business Incubator facility for a successful and sustainable example of this model.

Virtual-based Model

  • Virtual programs incorporate technology and on-line delivery mechanisms to reach remote locations where a physical incubator would not be feasible. The incubator does not have the physical location that the client rents or visits. Rather, the program is delivered virtually to the client's place of business. An example is illustrated by Virtual Incubation Manitoba.

Business incubation programs often merge both models to serve a larger region and offer more flexible services.

What does the BIWA! Resource Kit offer?

Business Incubation Works in Alberta! is a self-assessment and how-to guide for Alberta communities considering business incubation. It acts as a comprehensive toolkit that determines if business incubation is a worthwhile initiative for your community in regards to your economic development strategy.

BIWA! includes steps to:

  • Properly assessing market demand and the resources available in your community
  • Deciding on the proper incubation model, services offered and organizational structure
  • Defining financial feasibility
  • Identifying funding options
  • Supporting long-term sustainablity

BIWA! also offers a collection of comparative case studies and two resource DVDs. VISTA members have unlimited access to BIWA!.     

What are the business incubation support organizations?

Various provincial and federal support organizations assist in the development and sustainability of your incubation program.

Alberta community support organizations include:

National associations in Canada and the United States include the:

Please contact the VISTA Team if you wish to connect to the appropriate organization that can support your needs.

How is a business incubator financed?

Canadian incubation programs are most often non-profit based and incorporate partnerships with different levels of government that support local economic development.

The most common business incubator sponsoring agents include:

  • Government - 40%
  • Economic Development Organizations - 28%
  • Academic Institutions - 8%
  • Hybrid (combination of agents) - 8%
  • For-Profit Entities - 4%
  • Other - 12%

Business incubators with long term success are able to rely on internally generated revenue such as flexible lease agreements and fees for professional services.

How does a business incubator support my community?

The average survival rate for Canadian companies that go through business incubation has shown to be higher than 80% after 5 years (Source: CABI).

Therefore, an effectively operated business incubator can influence your community's economy in a variety of positive ways, including:

  • Increased the number of healthy companies and jobs
  • Decreased youth out-migration
  • Increased product commercialization in underdeveloped sectors
  • Providing support of other economic development strategies

Read more on the community benefits of business incubation


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 22:04

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