Business incubation is the process of giving new start-up and fledgling companies a locations to grow into sustainable entities who can then 'fly the nest' and take up premises in your local town centre and begin employing other people too. Evidence researched by UK Business Incubation (UKBI) suggests there are around 300 incubator locations today, with each hub holding around 30 businesses and supporting 167 full-time equivalent jobs either directly or via a supply chain. After five years, 87% of businesses started in an incubator are still in operation.
In short, this can be a great use of vacant space in your town centre either at ground level or in spaces above shop units. The models used vary from supported offices, hot desks for hire by the hour, shared facilities, short lets of empty shops, to use of laboratory space in universities and workshop space for creative enterprises. Common threads are usually:
low start-up costs
access to expertise & advice
If space is limited you may want to offer the incubator units following a competitive process along the lines of ‘Dragons Den’ with the attendant publicity benefits. This can help to ensure quality as well as profile.