incubator[in′kyə bāt′ər, iŋ′-]
- an artificially heated container for hatching eggs
- a similar apparatus in which premature babies are kept for a period
- an apparatus for growing microbial or cell cultures in which the temperature, atmosphere, and humidity can be controlled
- An apparatus in which environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, can be controlled, often used for growing bacterial cultures, hatching eggs artificially, or providing suitable conditions for a chemical or biological reaction.
- Medicine An apparatus for maintaining an infant, especially a premature infant, in an environment of controlled temperature, humidity, and oxygen concentration.
- A place or situation that permits or encourages the formation and development, as of new ideas: a college that was an incubator of new approaches to sociology.
- (chemistry) Any apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for a reaction.
- (medicine) An apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for a newborn baby.
- An apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for the hatching of eggs.
- A place to maintain the culturing of bacteria at a steady temperature.
- (business) A support programme for the development of entrepreneurial companies.
incubator - Computer Definition
An organization that fosters the growth of new ideas or companies. An incubator generally acquires small companies and provides them with financing, management expertise, office services and possibly office space. Incubators may adopt a think tank approach and look for synergies between the ideas, products and technologies they are developing in order to grow faster. Many Internet incubators arose in the latter 1990s with the intention of creating more dot-com success stories.
incubator - Investment & Finance Definition
A dynamic process of business development that helps start-up businesses grow and create a stable base for their operations. Incubators provide a variety of services, such as management assistance, financial assistance, and access to other professional and technical services. They also may provide marketing support. Incubators provide entrepreneurial firms with shared office space and equipment, support services, conference rooms, access to equipment, and flexible leases. Incubators also may focus on companies in one industry or in a niche industry. Often they are non-profit.
U.S. business incubators began in the 1970s, although the oldest one began in Batavia, New York in 1959. They were created from three concurrent events, according to the National Business Incubation Association, which was formed in 1985. Incubators came from an attempt to use old, abandoned factory buildings in distressed areas of the Midwest and Northeast by subdividing them for small firms. Incubators also received a boost from an experiment funded by the National Science Foundation to foster entrepreneurship and innovation at universities. Finally, successful entrepreneurs wanted to encourage others and provide support to emerging companies.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also was a strong promoter of incubators, especially from 1984 until 1987. During that time, the number of incubators grew from just over 20 annually to more than 70 by 1987. The agency held a series of regional conferences and published a newsletter and incubator handbooks.