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The concept of preincubation

In the Bielefeld pre-incubator, scientists with technology-based business ideas are coached throughout their way from the laboratory to the creation of their own company. They are supported by a dual system of qualification:


1.     Personalised training courses and individual advice, covering the topics accounting, business administration, market analysis, and marketing on a national and international level.

2.     In the pre-incubator young entrepreneurs test the market potential of their products by selling them on national and international markets. Since all business transactions are covered by an insurance of the pre-incubator, financial risks for entrepreneurs are reduced. On the basis of market tests the products can be further improved and adapted to customers’ needs.

As a result, the concept of pre-incubation facilitates a sustainable spin-off process from universities.

Within the USINE project, the Bielefeld concept of pre-incubation has been transferred to two European Higher Education Institutes and tested in these different regional contexts.

  • Ecole Polytechnique, Paris. Being a leading French institution in the area of High-Tech research, Ecole Polytechnique sets up a pre-incubator as a link to the existing incubator X-TECHNOLOGIES. Combining the high research potential with the pre-incubation concept promises a number of sustainable High-Tech spin-offs.
  • Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV). UPV has succeeded to implement systematic processes to source, protect and exploit promising inventions resulting from university research. The new pre-incubator set up within the framework of the USINE project complements the spin-off process generation process at UPV and helps to create more sustainable spin-offs.


A summary of the Bielefeld concept of pre-incubation is available for download:

Bielefeld concept of pre-incubation


Detailed information on the Bielefeld concept of pre-incubation can be obtained from the following publication:

Wirsing, B., Traude, A., Steffens, J., Sheen, M., Löffler, B., de Lapparent, D., Broadfoot, C., and J.-L. Alonso-González. 2002. Becoming an entrepreneur for a trial period: the pre-incubation experience. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Nov. 2002, p. 265-277.

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