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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 8, 2000. All rights reserved.

Another Incubator Hatches

Eager to get a piece of the start-up action, both government

and privately sponsored incubators are cropping up everywhere. The

Whitman administration has said it wants to support incubators and

create new ones — all in an effort to nurture businesses that

will create more jobs and more taxes.

High-tech lab space for medical and biotech start-ups will be a distinctive

feature of a new public incubator to be installed at the former Hill

Refrigeration Company buildings on Pennington Avenue in Trenton in

2002. At the request of the City of Trenton, the Urban Enterprise

Zone Assistance Fund approved an application for $450,000 to start

the first phase of rehabilitation of two of the buildings on the site

for incubator purposes. Mercer County Community College will be the

educational affiliate of the public incubator, which will offer low

rent, flexible space, and business consulting from both the community

college and the Small Business Development Center.

Dan Strombom, who runs the Trenton Business and Technology Center,

another public incubator on Front and Broad Streets, says that the

new incubator will satisfy a growing demand for customizable lab space.

"It’s been the major type of inquiry we’ve had here, and we can’t

accommodate them because of the physical lay out," he says.

When completed in 2002, the new incubator, two buildings totaling

63,000 square feet, will have flexible lab space and be five times

the size of the Trenton Business and Technology Center incubator,

which currently houses 11 companies. "We’re going to go with a

modular type of design approach, with flexible space and 400 square-foot

modules," says Strombom. Architectural and engineering design

of the new incubator is being handled by Cecil Baker & Associates

of Philadelphia. Strombom is not yet certain what the cost per square

foot will be.

Companies eligible for space in the new Hill Refrigeration incubator

will be in a technology-based field, developing or modifying a new

product or process, and have a business plan that demonstrates self-sufficiency

in two to three years and full-time commitment from the management

team. "We have already heard from companies who wish this were

happening a lot faster, says Strombom. For more information contact

Strombom at 609-396-8801.

Other state-funded incubators include the NJIT Enterprise Development

Center, Stevens Technology Ventures Business Incubator, the Rutgers

Newark Small Business Development Center, the Picatinny Innovation

Center, and the Burlington County College High Technology Small Business


What separates a successful incubator from being just another office

building is the advice and support it offers. This is what works so

well at the Technology Help Desk and Incubator at 100 Jersey Avenue

in New Brunswick (800-432-1832, Co-sponsored

by New Jersey Small Business Development Center of Rutgers Graduate

School of Management and the U.S. Small Business Administration, and

administered by Randy Harmon, this center has seen a good number of

its fledglings expand to larger space.

Even national businesses are creating incubators to stay current with

technology. After watching numerous E-commerce companies botch orders

and deliveries during the holiday rush, United Parcel Service decided

to enhance its role in the new economy by nurturing E-commerce start-ups.

UPS’s Georgia-based incubation project, E-Ventures, will be the research

and development arm of UPS E-Commerce.

The first company UPS has taken under its wing, E-Logistics, plans

to provide business with end-to-end business solutions for low-cost

launch of E-Commerce startups, everything from warehousing to order

fulfillment to customer service. Beta testing on the new company will

begin this year and it will be widely available in the fourth quarter

of this year. Call 404-828-8395 for inquiries.

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