Academic Incubators: The Future of Startups
By: Ashlee McNicol
In today’s competitive marketplace, young entrepreneurs need the right ideas, tools, and connections to develop products for marketability.
Recently, universities began offering places called academic incubators where these entrepreneurs can launch their startups and network with like-minded individuals, including manufacturing partners. These powerful innovation centers give startups what they need to be successful from the initial stages of product design and development to mass production.
WHAT IS AN ACADEMIC INCUBATOR?
An academic incubator is a creative space within a university where entrepreneurs can meet and design products. It’s also made to help entrepreneurs get connected with the right manufacturers, offering real-world solutions for getting each product ready to market.
Not only does this system foster collaboration with potential partners, it teaches several skills needed for a startup to become successful, including business management and critical thinking.
“Many companies stop pursuing their startup ideas because they can’t find guidance. Our collaborations give startups what they need to become a successful launch partner,” says Domingo Auces, Precision Group’s Vice President of Operations.
HOW AN ACADEMIC INCUBATOR WORKS
Universities serve as a matchmaker between startup companies and manufacturers. Once an entrepreneur is accepted into an academic incubator, they receive the tools needed to take their ideas to the next level.
Precision Group has two university incubators: The University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas A&M University. Our incubator partners develop products in industries such as consumer goods, medical, automotive, and telecommunications.
“There really is no limit to what we can do. We offer flexibility in manufacturing and even initial evaluations of products to support you and get your products off to a good start,” says Auces.
Texas A&M University serves as a small business administration, working with companies that need assistance in growth or product improvement. One successful startup that began in the Texas A&M University incubator is Breve Maxe Incorporated, a medical device company that is now selling the product. Several other startups are on their way to this point, too.
The University of Texas at San Antonio incubator is for small businesses trying to launch products for marketability and manufacturing. It’s also great for students and individuals trying to commercialize their products or ideas. For instance, one of the university’s mechanical engineering programs requires students to design, develop, and manufacture a product—making them stand out to manufacturers like us.
BENEFITS OF AN ACADEMIC INCUBATOR
Academic incubators help entrepreneurs determine if their products can be manufactured. If they can, they offer a great opportunity to connect with manufacturers such as Precision Group who seek new innovations and top talent.
With these partners, startups receive many of the tools they need to get their product off the ground—including business advice and manufacturing solutions.
Precision Group can assist any stage from the initial stages of product development to manufacturing. We even add a personal touch to our incubators by providing face-to-face contact with the entrepreneurs while offering the benefits of a virtual manufacturing company, such as quick response times.
Auces emphasizes that when entrepreneurs partner with the right companies, their startup becomes much easier to manage. “Their success is our success.”