Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

A spot at the incubator

Since 2009, the winner of FAU's annual business plan competition has been awarded a half-year's worth of free incubator space to encourage growth and success.

The Technology Business Incubator at FAU's Research Park in Boca Raton is home to about 20 startups. A spot there puts a student in close proximity to the South Florida Technology Alliance, angel investment group New World Angels and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, which showcases university-originated technologies and products.

More than 250 teams annually vie for entry into the business plan competition, says Kimberly Gramm, director of the Adams Center for Entrepreneurship at FAU.

Last October, FAU launched its Tech Runway business accelerator, a 16-week boot camp that offers aspiring entrepreneurs access to mentors, seed funding and space to work for a year.

"The goal is for them to become real companies and to push them out to incubators, research parks or class A office space," Gramm says. "We're trying to be a company factory."

FAU hopes to make room for 40 startups at the accelerator and is raising public and private money to pay for its expansion. The inaugural class contains five local startups.

The university offers an undergraduate minor and MBA concentration in entrepreneurship and is working to add an entrepreneurship major.