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Topic and objectives

 

In most EU Member States a major failing of the innovation system is that inventions generated at universities and higher education institutes all too rarely result in the creation of new, innovative firms. There are many obstacles which prevent academic researchers with a technology-based business idea from setting up an own company, e.g. a lack of knowledge in business management and negotiation skills, unknown market potential of products and services, high financial risks and the widespread fear for failure. The key question seems to be how support schemes aiming at the promotion of spin-offs from universities can adequately address the needs of potential academic entrepreneurs and increase the rate of successful spin-offs. The answer could a be a concept of pre-incubation, which helps academics overcome the major barriers to entrepreneurship and increases the sustainability of spin-offs. 

The concept of pre-incubation, set up at the "Institute for Innovation Transfer at the University of Bielefeld Ltd." in 1997, combines a new kind of support-infrastructure, the so-called "pre-incubator", with a range of instruments to remove the described obstacles to academic entrepreneurship. The core of the concept is the pre-incubator, a university-associated private limited company. The different instruments used, a market test and sale of pilot products, training, coaching, advisory on business plans and access to networks, address the specific needs of potential academic entrepreneurs and make them ready for their own company. 

Facilitation of the spin-off process from universities by introducing a new facility, the pre-incubator, in the innovation system

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