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The implementation of two new pre-incubators at the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia and the Ecole Polytechnique can be considered as the main achievement of the project. Although the pre-incubation model of the University of Bielefeld was used as the "good practice" example, the partners at Valencia and Paris have modified the Bielefeld model to fit their pre-incubators in the specific local environments. Thereby, they have both created new, "regional good practice" models of pre-incubation. 

Pre-incubation at Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

The strategy of Programme IDEAS, born in 1992 as part of the Transfer Technology Center, was twofold: on the one hand to promote entrepreneurship within the "Universidad Politécnica de Valencia" (UPV) and on the other hand to implement a process able to spin-off and start-up new companies out of the university activity. The spin-off process, initially comprising four main steps, was completed by the pre-incubation step within the framework of the USINE project:

  1. Awareness raising
  2. Cell of Opportunity (CoO) formation
  3. Pre-Incubation
  4. Incubation
  5. Exploitation

The concept of "Cell of Opportunity" and its formation process already existed in the UPV prior to the beginning of USINE. The pre-incubation process as understood in Bielefeld has been adapted to the UPV environment by splitting it in two parts: CoO formation, that includes all the activities required to build an entrepreneurial team and a business plan, and Pre-Incubation, that is considered as one alternative to the other two possible stages: incubation and exploitation of the new company. 

A foundation was created to host the pre-incubator. A selection process and structure were defined to select those business ideas with the greatest chances of success. Target groups of the pre-incubator are entrepreneurial teams ("Cells of Opportunity") with a sound business idea and the availability of financing to cover the different pre-incubation activities. At UPV, pre-incubation is seen as an optional process step to be followed by CoO's coming from academia or from CoO's coming from the market. What they have in common is that they need to test the market of their products and services prior to the creation of an own technology-based business. 

The pre-incubator at UPV has set up a range of services for the entrepreneurs in the pre-incubation stage, e.g. training on the marketing of products and services, international marketing, project management, financing, IPR; support for business plan construction, e.g. by MENTOR software tool; internal and external consulting, access to networks. Insurance services are in progress.

A summary with the project results from Universidad Politecnica de Valencia is available for download:

Results from Valencia


Pre-incubation at Ecole Polytechnique

The foundations for the Ecole Polytechnique were laid in 1794. Today, it is one of the renowned "Grandes Ecoles" in France, which has also gained a reputation as a breeding ground for high technology. Established in 1992, X-TECHNOLOGIES (XTEC) is a department inside Ecole Polytechnique to facilitate technology transfer and enterprise creation. Its incubator institute supports scientists in setting up their own high-tech businesses. 

In 2001, the new pre-incubator X-CREATION S.A. has been created to form a link between Ecole Polytechnique and the incubator X-TEC. In order to set up the "société anonyme" (S.A.) a starting capital of 200.000 € was provided by Ecole (80.000 €) and Fondation de l'Ecole (120.000 €). The adaptation of the concept of pre-incubation follows closely the Bielefeld model. However, the main difference to the Bielefeld pre-incubator is that the pre-incubator at Ecole has to become self-sustainable in funding. 

Similar to the Valencian concept of pre-incubation, the Paris pre-incubator differentiates between the step of sourcing entrepreneurial teams and thestep of pre-incubation. Ecole Polytechnique actively promotes the formation of interdisciplinary entrepreneurial teams by a collaborative training programme set up with the neighbour institute HEC ("Hautes Etudes Commerciales"), one of the most renown higher education institutes for business and administration in France. The new feature in the approach of XTEC is to use the student as the vector for technology transfer and, consequently, to create a link between market needs and higher education. 

Under the cover of X-CREATION S.A. a pre-seed capital fund has been set up for the support of early stage entrepreneurial projects. Further financial resources for pre-incubation activities and the pre-seed fund are provided by private sources. A "profit-centre" can be supported with a sum up to 6000 Euro for international market analysis and support on IPR issues. Like in Bielefeld, an insurance service is in place, which covers all business transactions of the profit-centres.


A summary with the project results from Ecole Polytechnique is available for download:

Results from Paris