How do you help entrepreneurs?

The INNOVATION CENTER provides strategic guidance, access to investors, business mentors, and a ready-made network of contacts. We also offer help in building the management team, specialized training, affordable space, and professional services at reduced rates.

There are four programs within our INNOVATION CENTER. The Pre-Incubation, Incubation, Acceleration, and Post Graduate programs help entrepreneurs succeed in the business world. These programs are specifically chosen to match businesses, depending on their stage of progress, and provide helpful services to entrepreneurs.

How many client companies are at the INNOVATION CENTER?

Currently, there are over 28 client companies at the INNOVATION CENTER. These companies include health services, merchandise, design, technological companies, and many more. The INNOVATION CENTER strives to maintain a strong relationship with current and previous Coastal Bend business incubator client companies.

Do I have to move into the incubator?

No. The INNOVATION CENTER has both resident and non-resident clients. Non-residents, or affiliates, are companies who need strategic business advice and assistance but do not need space. However, past clients have told us that there is great benefit to being a resident in the incubator. Residing at the Coastal Bend business incubator allows you to personally share experiences and problems with fellow entrepreneurs. Sharing approaches and solutions to problems can be a great help. In fact, entrepreneurs have told us that being inside the incubator "lessened their fear and anxiety." They realized they were not going through the process alone. Most clients will start as affiliates, then transition to residents. After this process, they will retain some sort of affiliate designation once they have officially graduated from the Coastal Bend business incubator.

Application Process

For an application package please apply online here.

This application allows us to examine your business concept, what services you will be interested in, and where you are in your business endeavors.

Application Qualifications

The Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center searches for innovative entrepreneurs looking to expand their company and create an abundance of local jobs. Here are some of the qualifications the INNOVATION CENTER looks for in an applicant:

  • The beginnings of a sound management and/or product development team
    Applicants should be able to provide a business plan or executive summary describing their product or business concept, identifying the business opportunity or the problem their research and development process is designed to solve, and a preliminary market analysis identifying the commercial potential for their business.
  • An innovative, technology-based product idea or business concept
    Applicants should be able to identify primary research personnel and those associated with the research who can demonstrate strong entrepreneurial interests.
  • Financial resources
    Applicants should be able to demonstrate the financial capacity to cover operational expenses and fees for the INNOVATION Center services and use of facilities. Essential elements of the financial plan should include reasonable and realistic projection of cash needs, and the time required for reaching revenue targets sufficient to sustain the company.
  • An interest and willingness to be associated with Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
    Applicants should express support, commitment and cooperation with the stated mission and goals of the INNOVATION Center.
    There should also be an interest in working with appropriate members of the Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi business faculty and staff in a combined research and entrepreneurial/professional environment.
  • The potential of creating technology-based jobs over the long term
    The INNOVATION Center is interested in supporting start-up companies that have the capacity and potential of serving large markets and creating high quality jobs in the Coastal Bend area.
  • A desire to benefit from the INNOVATION Center
    The INNOVATION Center is a group of professionals participating in a network of industry and academic experts dedicated to the success of technology ventures.
    The INNOVATION Center clients will be expected to be a part of that effort, involve themselves with other companies in the incubator, and participate in workshops, seminars, meetings and other activities related to their own.
What are business incubators?

Business incubators nurture the development of entrepreneurial companies, helping them survive and grow during the business startup period when they are most vulnerable. These programs provide their client companies with business mentoring and support services along with resources tailored to young firms. The most common goals of business incubation programs are creating jobs in a community, enhancing a community's entrepreneurial climate, retaining businesses in a community, building or accelerating growth in a local industry, and diversifying local economies.

Business incubation is a business support process that accelerates the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of targeted resources and services. These services are usually developed or orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the business incubator and through its network of contacts. A business incubator's main goal is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and freestanding. These incubator graduates have the potential to create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, commercialize new technologies, and strengthen local and national economies.

Critical to the definition of a business incubator is the provision of management guidance, technical assistance and consulting tailored to young growing companies. Incubators usually also provide clients access to appropriate rental space and flexible leases, shared basic business services and equipment, technology support services and assistance in obtaining the financing necessary for company growth.

Incubators vary in the way they deliver their services, organizational structure and in the types of clients they serve. Highly adaptable business incubators have differing goals including diversifying rural economies, providing employment for and increasing wealth of depressed inner cities, and transferring technology from universities and major corporations. Incubator clients are at the forefront of developing new and innovative technologies - creating products and services that improve the quality of our lives in communities around the world.

Is business incubation a new industry?

No. The term "business incubator" gained popularity between 1999 and 2001 with the explosion and subsequent demise of so-called Internet incubators, but the business incubation model traces its beginnings to the late 1950s.

Visit the National Business Incubator Association at www.nbia.org for more information about the history of business incubation.

How many business incubators are there?

As of 2011, there are around 1,200 business incubators in the United States. The National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) estimates that there are about 7,000 business incubators worldwide. This number has substantially improved since the 1980's, when only 12 incubators were present.

The incubation model has been adapted to meet a variety of needs, from fostering commercialization of university technologies to increasing employment in local communities.

What are the different types of business incubators?

Incubation programs come in many shapes and sizes and serve a variety of communities and markets:

  • Most North American business incubators (about 93 percent) are nonprofit organizations focused on economic development. About 7 percent of North American incubators are for-profit entities; usually set up to obtain returns on shareholders investments.
  • 54 percent are "mixed-use," assisting a range of early-stage companies.
  • 37 percent focus on technology businesses.
  • About 6 percent focus on service businesses, serve niche markets or assist other types of businesses.
  • 3 percent serve manufacturing firms.
  • About 47 percent of business incubators operate in urban areas, 28 percent operate in rural areas and about 19 percent operate in suburban areas.
How do incubators help start-ups get funding?

Incubators help client companies secure capital in a number of ways:

  • Managing in-house and revolving loan and microloan funds
  • Connecting companies with "angel" investors (high-net-worth individual investors)
  • Working with companies to perfect venture capital presentations and business networking with venture capitalists
  • Assisting companies in applying for loans
How do incubators contribute to local and regional economies?

Incubator graduates create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and commercialize new technologies, thus strengthening local, regional and even national economies. NBIA estimates that in 2011 alone, North American incubators assisted about 49,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for nearly 200,000 workers and generated annual revenue of almost $15 billion.

How do business incubators differ from SBDCs?

The U.S. Small Business Administration administers the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) program to provide general business assistance to current and prospective small business owners. SBDCs (and similar programs) differ from business incubators in that they do not specifically target early-stage companies; they often serve small businesses at any stage of development. Some business incubators partner and share management with SBDCs to avoid duplicating business assistance services in a region.

Sources of Data
Knopp, Linda. 2012 State of the Business Incubation Industry.
Athens, Ohio: NBIA Publications, 2007.
National Business Incubation Association. www.nbia.org.
University of Michigan, National Business Incubation Association, Ohio University, and Southern Technology Council. Business Incubation Works: The Results of the Impact of Incubator Investments Study. Athens, Ohio: NBIA Publications, 1997.