Local entrepreneurs looking for a business incubator to work with will find this interesting – five organizations have signed an agreement, forming the uncreatively-named Regional Alliance:
Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the five incubators have agreed to work efficiently to utilize limited local incubator resources by leveraging each other’s expertise, services and programs to achieve efficiencies and economies of scale.
The five organizations include the original three, TEC Edmonton, Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI), and novaNAIT, as well as the two newest additions, Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC – through the Edmonton Research Park) and the National Institute for Nanotechnology. There’s a total of 268,033 sq. ft. of space available through the Regional Alliance, with 131 companies already in incubation.
Initially, lease application processes will be coordinated and the incubators won’t compete with one another on rental rates. Over time they hope to get better at matching entrepreneurs with the appropriate value-added services offered by the incubators.
I think the Regional Alliance makes sense, if only because it will save money for both the incubators and the entrepreneurs they serve. The press release talks about how this agreement will help to develop Alberta’s entrepreneurial capacity, and on that point I disagree. There are thousands of entrepreneurs who either don’t want or need incubation, and even more with products or services that don’t require technology commercialization.
I’d like to see the newly connected incubators do more to help early-stage entrepreneurs, and to help foster the culture of entrepreneurship that we know exists in the Edmonton area thanks to things like DemoCamp.
The Edmonton Journal has more on the story here.