Center for Innovation honored as 'soft landing' spot for international business

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News Article

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College of Business & Public Administration


The University of North Dakota Center for Innovation's two technology incubators have been designated as a "Soft Landings International Incubator" by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). This is the fourth time since 2006 that the center has received the important, with two-year renewals in 2008, 2010 and this year.

"The UND Center for Innovation was one of first five incubators in the world to secure the soft landings designation in 2006," said Center founder and director Bruce Gjovig. "Six years later, there are just 25 incubators out of 5,000 worldwide (half of one percent) with that designation and certification."

Other Soft Landings incubators are located in several major U.S. cities, as well as Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, among other places.

"The NBIA designation identifies business incubators that are especially capable of providing a 'soft landing' to international entrepreneurs wishing to expand into new domestic markets," said Gjovig, who also is an entrepreneur coach at the Center. "The Center for Innovation has been assisting international clients since 1992 with the majority of its international clients coming from Canada, Norway and China. This designation not only recognizes our expertise, but also sends a welcoming message to international entrepreneurs looking to call North Dakota home."

The UND Center for Innovation was selected for the program because of its wide array of entrepreneur services for international entrepreneurs and its demonstrated success at helping these firms enter the U.S. market, according to Randy Morris, NBIA director of member services.

The Soft Landings designation recognizes outstanding incubators that are capable of helping international firms enter into new domestic markets with entrepreneur services, cut through governmental red tape and help provide access to capital, domestic market research, export entry strategies and an orientation to the resources and nuances of the American business culture.

An important benefit to international companies that locate in an incubator is the ability to grow into a presence on U.S. soil without having to go through many of the capital-intensive acquisitions involved in opening a new location," Gjovig said. "The incubator offers turn-key office, servers, communications 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."

"We're honored that the Center for Innovation is among such a small number of incubators to receive the designation worldwide," Gjovig said. "The NBIA reports there are more than 5,000 business incubators worldwide and about 900 in the United States, up from just 12 in 1980. 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."

Since 1997, the Center for Innovation has worked closely with the UND Department of Entrepreneurship to be a top ranked entrepreneur program with an emphasis on innovation, experiential learning and entrepreneur finance. The Center for Innovation is a division of the UND College of Business and Public Administration.

About the UND Center for Innovation

The UND Center for Innovation works with innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and students to launch new technologies and ventures, coach entrepreneurs in the startup and growth of ventures, and provide access to entrepreneur capital. The Center operates two tech incubators: Skalicky Tech Incubator and the Ina Mae Rude Entrepreneur Center. The incubators host 26 ventures employing more than 120 people. The Center for Innovation was among the first entrepreneur outreach centers in the nation when it was formed 28 years ago in 1984. The Center has earned twelve national awards for excellence in innovation and technology entrepreneurship.

The National Business Incubation Association is the world's leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship support.