HC Deb 04 November 1999 vol 337 c279W
33. Dr. Gibson

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what success he has had in developing incubator companies of clusters. [95857]

Ms Hewitt

My Department supports the UK Business Incubation Centre (UKBI), which promotes and encourages the uptake of business incubation, spreads best practice and improves networking and coordination between incubators. DTI also supports some sectoral incubation activities, for example through the Biotechnology Mentoring and Incubator Challenge and the Software Business Incubator (a virtual incubator). In addition, the "Reach-Out" fund has invited proposals for enhanced interaction between Higher Education Institutions and business, including support for university-based incubator facilities. Business incubators are often but not exclusively, located within industrial clusters.

UKBI have commissioned a study, part-funded by my Department, which will help identify where and how incubator support policy has assisted specific firms, such as high-technology businesses We await the result of this study with interest.