|Center for Innovation designated as Soft Landings International Incubator|
The Center for Innovation has been notified that its two technology incubators have again been designated as a Soft Landings International Incubator by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). The center is one of only 12 incubators around the world to earn that designation since 2005. The other soft landings incubators are located in Hong Kong, England, Australia, Finland, Belgium, France, San Jose, Baltimore, and Boston.
The designation identifies incubators that provide a 'soft landing' to international firms wishing to expand into new markets. The Center has been assisting international clients since 1992 with the majority of its international clients coming from Norway and Canada.
Randy Morris, NBIA's director of membership says, "The Soft Landings designation recognizes outstanding incubators that are capable of helping and welcoming international firms enter into its domestic market with entrepreneur services, help cutting through governmental red tape, and provide demonstrated success in heling provide access to capital, domestic market research, and export entry strategies."
Center for Innovation director and entrepreneur coach Bruce Gjovig says "The NBIA is the international trade association for business incubators. The Soft Landings program recognizes incubators that are especially effective at helping foreign companies enter their local market. The designation is effective for two years and the Center was among the first five in the world to be named a Soft Landings Incubator when first earning the designation in 2006." A panel of NBIA-member incubator managers evaluated the applications.
Gjovig adds, "This designation will let international entrepreneurs know about our venturing expertise and our ability to provide a 'soft landing'." We have a proven track record of working with international clients and can offer that expertise as companies enter the US market. This designation not only recognizes our expertise, but also sends a welcoming message to international entrepreneurs looking to call North Dakota home."
Gjovig explains that one important benefit to international companies that locate in an incubator is the ability to grow into a presence on US soil without having to go through many of the capital-intensive acquisitions involved in opening a new location. The incubator offers turn-key office and lab space for early stage ventures as well as entrepreneur assistance and the opportunity to be part of an entrepreneur community. Some clients also find that the Center's affiliation with the University of North Dakota provides easy access to entrepreneur-minded students who are looking for internships, projects and employment. For many years the Center has secured funding from the Norwegian and Canadian Consulates for students to work with entrepreneurs from those countries looking to expand into the US market or find strategic partners in the United States.
Gjovig says he is honored the Center for Innovation was among a small number of incubators to receive the designation. Gjovig said NBIA reports there are over 7,000 business incubators worldwide and about 1,100 in the United States, up from 12 in 1980. Gjovig says, "It is good to be on the leading edge in globalizing incubator operations as more tech entrepreneurs find they need to enter international markets to capitalize on their opportunities."
Gjovig says business incubators in several other countries have sent delegations to the visit our campus incubators, with visitors from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Poland, China and Mexico.