Nov 15, 2013

University Research Park: A business incubator that is “changing the world”

Excerpted from
By Jeff Miller

University Research Park and the MG&E Innovation Center on its campus were cited yesterday, November 15, by Forbes Magazine as among the top breeding grounds for compelling high-tech startups.

The magazine named the park as one of the world’s “10 especially crackling innovation hubs” based on trends in funding for private companies. The MG&E Innovation Center acts as an incubator for businesses at the earliest stage of development, says Greg Hyer, interim University Research Park director.

The national recognition was “a shining example of Madison as a globally competitive city,” says Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce.

University Research Park was founded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984 and is home to about 125 companies employing almost 4,000 people.

Originally designed to nurture high-tech businesses, the park is also key to retaining talent in Madison, Hyer says. “We have a history with those folks; we can continue to help them.”

High-tech startups need a great technology and capital, but they also need a core of experienced managerial talent, says Hyer. “Madison, because of the university, has always had great technology. Now, it’s beginning to get the established management talent and that begins to build on itself.”

Flexibility is another key to getting start-ups on their feet, Hyer says. “Places like MG&E Innovation Center and the park offer the kind of adaptability that the growing company needs. We offer sophisticated space, with the infrastructure they need to do their work and flexible contracts so they can grow or reduce in size, as they need. It’s not a rigid system; the park is as entrepreneurial as they are.”

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