Innovation and Business DevelopmentInnovation is the successful exploitation of new ideas and is a vital ingredient for competitiveness, productivity and social gain within businesses and organizations.
Innovation can be anything from changing a daily business procedure to designing a new product for sale to discovering a new drug that reduces heart disease.
Innovation is an attitude, a state of mind, and a creative process as much as a specific task or action. More businesses are recognizing that competitive advantage comes from knowledge and new ideas. This means companies need to develop and protect intellectual property as a mechanism for growth within their business.
What is an Incubator?
Missouri has several incubator facilities located throughout the state. An incubator is a building that can be divided into smaller units of space and is leased by a new small business for a limited period of time. Incubators provide business development services for use by the tenants that commonly include: computers, copiers, facsimiles, conference rooms, clerical support, telephone answering service, and networking opportunities. Several of the Innovation Centers in the state also operate incubator facilities.
What is an Innovation Center?
Missouri has designated innovation centers located in Columbia, Rolla, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Kansas City, Kirksville, Springfield, Warrensburg and St. Joseph. Innovation Centers are designated by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC). State funding is appropriated through the Department of Economic Development.
They offer a wide range of management and technical assistance to businesses. The centers are familiar with up-to-date business management and technology innovations and help businesses apply these innovations to increase profits. When you go to an innovation center for assistance your business becomes a part of a network of state, federal, university and private resources designed to develop and support high-growth businesses. The innovation centers receive state funding, and are required to have a one to one match, to assist with operations.
Innovation Centers are state-sponsored programs that work with entrepreneurs with technology-based products or processes. Innovation centers work with entrepreneurs by providing services such as helping to develop sound business growth models, obtaining financing, finding appropriate incubator office and research space, developing marketing plans, networking opportunities, and research connections with universities. The second type of client the innovation centers serve are existing and growing companies trying to bring a new product to market. These clients do not need as much help with the structure of their business model or other aspects of their business, but they have a specific need in technology transfer to take a technology idea and move it into the marketplace. These types of clients are more project oriented services, and the relationship with the innovation center is not an intensive long-term relationship, but driven by products (projects) under development in the pipeline.
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