The EU-project USINE (University Start-up of International Entrepreneurs)
The USINE project was co-financed by the European Commission under the Innovation Programme of the 5th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The project started in August 2000 for the duration of 18 months and was later on extended to 21 months. Within the framework of the project the Bielefeld concept of pre-incubation has been transferred to the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia/Spain and the Ecole Polytechnique/France. Under the coordination of the University of Bonn/EuroConsult and the support of Strathclyde University/UK, Dimotech Ltd./Israel, Warsaw University/Poland and CEIN/Spain the concept of pre-incubation has been implemented, tested and validated in different regional contexts.
The USINE project aimed at promoting technology-based spin-offs from universities by creating a new facility, the so-called 'pre-incubator', as a link between universities and incubators/science parks. This facility supports academics with technology-based business ideas before they establish their own companies. Adapting the model established in 1997 at the University of Bielefeld (Germany), the project helped to build up two new pre-incubators at the Ecole Polytechnique in Palaiseau near Paris and the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia. The pre-incubator provides a protection shield for academics to test the marketability of their products prior to the foundation of an own company. The pre-incubator facility furthermore provides assistance, training and coaching and helps academics formulate business development plans. The Israeli partner Dimotech and Strathclyde University assisted the pre-incubators in setting up training measures to provide entrepreneurs with knowledge on international aspects of entrepreneurship.