Is the recession bringing back the incubator model? It has in Limerick

I thought incubators – as a model for producing startups – had long gone out of fashion. But, first of all there are rumours a new one one might be starting up in the UK. Around the same time, an incubator has, in the last few months, appeared in Limerick Ireland. What’s going on? Is the recession bringing the model back?

The GreenHouse start-up incubator has been developed by internet entrepreneur Evert Bopp who has brought on no less an advisor that Pat Phelan, the founder and CEO of Cubic Telecom, alongside Kevin Thompstone, former CEO of Shannon Development and Richard O‘ Donnell, co-founder of Software Architects International and Redeo.com.

Bopp says he started the incubator because similar schemes in Ireland are run either by the state or
owned by Institutes of Technology – both likely to be red-tape drags on fast moving companies.

Startups applying have to go through an application process to the board. If successful they get a 6-month
incubation cycle of office space and facilities and other professional services (legal, accounting, mentoring etc). They also get funding on developments costs in exchange for a small equity stake. They are also looking for key sponsors and investors. The initiative is well timed – earlier this year Dell made 2000+ employees redundant in the Limerick region. They are even inviting local schools in to give the kids a taste of entrepreneurship. Hey, it’s a feel-good story.

One slight problem – as far as I can tell it doesn’t have any startups in it yet, so I hope that changes soon.