LONDON Ongoing research by U.K. Business Incubation (UKBI) suggests there's now less risk in starting a business within a business incubator than being employed in the private technology sector.
It has found that over 90percent of young and small companies that are incubated are still flourishing after 3 years. Furthermore, over 80percent of these companies are still trading after 5 years, by which time they have normally left the incubator.
This compares with a 3-year success rate of 41percent for U.K. businesses in general – according to the findings of the Office of National Statistics and HMRC.
“With many major technology corporations laying off staff by the thousands, starting a business with the resources of a focused business incubator behind you is now less of a risk than staying where you are and waiting for the axe to fall,” said Nick Sturge, director of Bristol University’s incubator, or Business Acceleration Centre, which recently won UKBI's “Established Business Incubator of the Year 2008” award.
“If you have already been laid off, there’s never been a better time to look at the option of starting on your own – there’s never been more support available,” added Sturge.
The University of Bristol, along with those of Bath, Southampton and Surrey provide incubator facilities for technology businesses under the SETsquared Partnership programme.
The SETsquared centres provide business mentoring, coaching, access to university expertise, investment readiness training, introductions to potential investors and subsidised office space.
“It can cost from as little as £100 a month to get set up in a SETsquared centre and we estimate that the facilities, advice and expertise we offer is provided at about one-tenth of the cost of buying it on the open market,” said Sturge.
Companies within SETsquared Business Acceleration Centres have raised over £120 million investment in the last 4 years and have created more than 1000 new jobs. There are now over 300 business incubators in the U.K.