Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox were prepared for the
April 25, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Incubator Graduate: Case Study
Mark M. Feffer, president of Tramp Steamer Media, can
be considered a poster child for business incubators. He started an
interactive publishing business three years ago and graduated from
the Trenton Business and Technology Center with five full-time and
several part-time employees to 1,600 square feet on West State Street
in Trenton (www.trampsteamer.com).
"Starting a business can be scary, and being in a space where
there are experienced business people to talk to and get advice from
can make a huge difference," says Feffer. "One of the most
important steps we took in our growth was moving from home offices
to real offices. I don’t think we could have made that transition
as well as we did if the incubator hadn’t been available."
Getting companies to the "graduation point," the point at
which they are financially viable and can rent a freestanding office,
is indeed the mission of an incubator. National statistics show that,
over the years, one-third of an incubator’s clients graduate each
year, and 87 percent of them are still in business now (www.nbia.org).
This compares to the record of 50 to 80 percent of businesses that
fail in the first year. The U.S. Small Business Administration Office
of Advocacy reports that only 66 percent of businesses remain open
at least two years (www.sba.gov).
The business incubator concept in New Jersey started in the 1980s,
flourished in the 1990s, and now the state Commission on Science and
Technology is helped to fund the creation of seven more facilities.
The state is trying to help young, small technology companies, says
John Tesoriero, executive director of the NJCST, because these
are making the great discoveries that might spur them to be major
"New Jersey supports a network of seven technology business
says Tesoriero. "These innovative and entrepreneurial enclaves
are administered through New Jersey’s academic sector and currently
house more than 100 businesses. They provide start-up and small firms
with critical business assistance in addition to low-cost office,
light manufacturing and/or laboratory." Support is funded at
annually, but plans are in the works to expand the network.
South Broad Street, Trenton 08608-2102. Al Spiewak, director.
fax, 609-396-8603. Www.TrentonBusiness.org.
The incubator is a strong place for new companies to
get started," says Al Spiewak. "I have a lot of experience
getting businesses underway through teaching the theory and being
an entrepreneur. If they came here for that alone, new businesses
would be able to find success." In 13,000 square feet he has 10
tenants and room for three to eight more. Among the "perks"
is use of a T-1 line.
Spiewak’s great grandfather started a still-successful outerwear
company on Long Island, and he has had a variety of his own
experiences. A philosophy major at University of Pennsylvania, Class
of ’70, he has an MBA from Cornell and a law degree from Union
He worked for an intellectual property firm in Manhattan, as in-house
lawyer for J&R Music World and then Paramount, and had a security
business in Manhattan. While he and his wife were opening the
Corner schools in Plainsboro, he taught entrepreneurship at Fordham,
computers at Mercer County College, and marketing in the noncredit
program at MCCC. He was asked to take over the director’s job at the
Trenton incubator six months ago.
"We’ve addressed the tenants’ concerns about maintenance and
requirements," says Spiewak. The incubator’s advisory board
such luminaries as Jim Carnes, CEO of Sarnoff Corporation; Lewis D.
Meixler of Princeton Plasma Physic Laboratories; Joe Montemarano of
the POEM center at Princeton University; Richard Woodbridge,
property attorney; and Catherine Shrope-Mok of Third Federal Savings.
Montemarano also sits on the board of directors, which also includes
Gregory Olson, founder of Sensors Unlimited, and Feffer.
Tenants include Absolute Computer Training Center, computer training
and consulting (609-394-2100); Bioderm Technologies, bio-medical
(609-656-0784); Digital Spectrum, audio CD masters and duplicating
(609-396-6000); Ecosol Solar Tech, solar energy cells (656-7777);
Empyrean Management Group, online recruitment strategies
Inforest Communications, website design (888-706-1380); Motility
Corp., bio-medical research (917-882-6674); Sensing Strategies, high
tech quality control consulting (609-394-9901); and Trenton Arts
fostering the arts in Trenton (609-965-8155).
Incubator, 900 Briggs Road, Mount Laurel 08054. Frank S. Keith,
manager. 856-222-9311, ext. 7906; fax, 856-439-0154. Home page:
www.bcc.edu. Has two dozen permanent tenants and is 100 percent
full. A second section is under construction.
Luther King Boulevard, Newark 07102. Stash Lisowski, director.
fax, 973-643-5839. Home page: www.njit-edc.org. A
small business incubator.
Dover 07801. Patricia Milley, executive director. 973-442-6400; fax,
973-442-6492. Incubator for technology firms that can have access
to federal laboratories, personnel, and critical technology.
Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken 07030. Gina M. Boesch. 201-216-5622;
fax, 201-216-8044. Www.attila.stevens-tech.edu/tvi.
Street, Fourth Floor, Newark 07102. Lou Gaburo, director.
Jersey Avenue, Suite D-1, New Brunswick 08901. Randy Harmon, director.
800-432-1832; fax, 732-545-0120. Home page: www.nj.com/njsbdc.
non-profit organization committed to open a first-of-its-kind
small business incubator for entrepreneurs with and without
in Morristown, focusing on new products, processes and services
for the handicapped and disability market.
II, Mt. Laurel . The Burlington County College was awarded funding
to build a new, one-story, 20,000-foot Life Sciences incubator on
campus for about 14 entrepreneurs.
awarded funding for a new internet-related incubator for student and
non-student entrepreneurs, "Launch Central," a 6,500
one-story building adjacent to the Rothman Institute of
Studies on the Florham Park Madison campus.
NJIT/EDC was awarded funding to begin construction of new 80,000
five-story incubator, EDC III, housing up to 50 technology start-up
companies, creating approximately 240 new jobs in the short term.
08543. 609-734-2000. Norman Winarsky, president.
A wholly-owned for-profit Sarnoff subsidiary for launching
companies. Winarsky and his team will develop ventures that use the
expertise and technology of all Sarnoff units, particularly in these
areas: multimedia and broadband, Internet connected devices and
and smart services that provide customized responses to individual
user needs (U.S. 1, January 24). nVention targets venture
that have $1 billion market capitalization potential.
671 Route 1 South . This 20,000-foot research facility is designed
for emerging R&D companies in biosciences, micro electronics, advanced
materials, and communications technologies. The Commercialization
Center offers common services (autoclave, copy/fax, Internet access)
and 17 wet labs for incubator use, all with fume hoods, benches, and
cabinetry. It is being leased by CB Richard Ellis (732-767-6400).
c/o NJEDA, CM 990, Trenton 08625. Michael B. Francois, real estate
development. 609-292-1800; fax, 609-292-5722. Laboratory and
facilities for emerging technology companies.
Under construction now is Technology Centre of New Jersey III, a
foot single-story precast building with ribbon glass. The smallest
lab space will be 5,800 square feet, and the state landlord (the New
Jersey Economic Development Authority, will kick in $100 per square
foot for tenant improvements. Another space now available is the
26,000 square foot analytical lab just vacated by Johnson & Johnson’s
Advanced Care. Merial, Cambrex, and Celgro are among the tenants in
Corporate Plaza, Monmouth Junction 08852. Harold Kent AIA, owner.
732-329-3655; fax, 732-329-9697. As leases of non-tech companies
here, they are being replaced by high tech electronics and biotech
Pennington 08534. Winn Thompson. 609-737-3322; fax, 609-737-6829.
Home page: www.straube.com Total business services for companies
to design, develop, produce, market, and export products and services.
incubator’s poster children, Henry Wojtunik of Anacom Systems,
a wireless communication firm (www.anacomsystems.com), went from
to $5 million (thanks to the downturn in the Korean economy) and sold
the company for considerably more than $5 million.
"I knew Henry would hit sudden exponential growth, so we put
an advisory committee from different disciplines," says Randy
Harmon, the incubator’s director. "These folks were instrumental
in helping build Henry build into a more mature company, ready for
the breakthrough. We also helped him to get his intellectual property
patented, and when the patent came through it kicked up the valuation
another million dollars." Wojtunik expanded twice and is now in
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