What is an incubator?

When telling my family and peers about my job, I received lots of blank stares, as if “Four Athens Technology Incubator” was coming out of my mouth in German.  “That sounds nerdy” and “technology what?” were some of the most common responses I received.  It wasn’t until hearing a discussion on NPR that my mom began to truly understand what an incubator is and what purpose it serves.  For that reason, I decided to make my first blog and informative piece on- you guessed it- incubators.  Maybe those of you who visit our site and read these blogs are already well aware of what an incubator is, but for those of you who don’t, this blog is for you.

Incubators are not a new concept, but their numbers have grown exponentially in the past five or six years.  Put simply, incubators take in young start-ups and entrepreneurs and help them acquire everything they need to progress from inception stage to establishment of a viable company, from funding and office space to coaching and support.   To the benefit of their respective local economies, the establishment of these successful new companies is accompanied by the creation of new employment opportunities.

Perhaps one country that has benefited most positively from incubators is, in fact, Germany, where there are currently over 300 models of business incubators, along with a booming start-up industry.  Incubators have proven to be effective with quite an impressive portfolio of success stories.  According to the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), among incubation programs whose average age was approximately ten years, 87 percent of graduate firms were still in business.  Contrastingly, the Small Business Administration has found that only about 44 percent of all firms remain in business longer than four years.

Four Athens was founded with the mission of introducing successful new businesses to the Athens economy.  Local entrepreneurs are encouraged to seek and take advantage of the resources and services Four Athens provides.  With the right support, guidance and funding, start-ups in Athens are ready to thrive.

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