Startup Incubators

Image courtesy of Naypong /

Image courtesy of Naypong /

An incubator is a for-profit or not-for-profit company that assists early-stage businesses by providing any, or all, of the following:  (a)  physical space in which to operate the business; (b) shared facilities and services, such as conference rooms and receptionists; (c) training and/or mentoring; (d) financing; and (e) access to resources available through relationships with local universities, government agencies and business networks. Although some incubators provide these services in exchange for stock in a startup, many simply charge a fee. In addition, incubators are often more flexible than accelerators, allowing businesses to remain in incubator space for varying terms, depending on the needs of the company.


1871 – Incubator/co-working center for digital startups. in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The 50,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with affordable work space and access to mentors, programming, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Image courtesy of porbital /

Image courtesy of porbital /

ARCH New Business Incubator – Provides facilities and support for winners and finalists of the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) business plan competition. Housed within the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, NVC companies have access to phones, computers, office supplies, a conference room, and Polsky Center team support to develop their fledgling businesses.

Catapult Chicago – Part incubator, part accelerator, Catapult is in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Ensemble HQ – Calling itself an “excubator,” Ensemble HQ is a one stop digital services suite for entrepreneurs.

EnterpriseWorks Incubator – Located in Champaign, Illinois, startups in the the EnterpriseWorks Incubator focus on biotechnology, chemical sciences, software development, sustainability and materials sciences.

Matter – A new medtech incubator, scheduled to open in the fall of 2014, located in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart.

The Northwestern University Incubator – Located in downtown Evanston, the Northwestern University Incubator provides office space, mentoring, furniture and a conference room to entrepreneurs who are Northwestern students, faculty and alumni.

Image courtesy of porbital /

Image courtesy of porbital /

UIC Incubator Laboratory – Located in the Chicago Technology Park (CTP), the UIC Incubator is a 56,000 sq. ft. wet-lab incubator with 3 floors and offers 37 fully-equipped laboratories, many with office and storage space.  Shared tenant space includes autoclaves, dishwashers/dryers, a dark room and cold rooms, as well as conference rooms and on-site security with central reception, receiving and shipping services.

University Technology Park – IIT – Built specifically to launch successful startups in the life sciences, biotech, engineering, materials and chemical research, the incubator at IIT has office space as well as sophisticated wet and dry lab space and puts occupants in close proximity to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s biomedical and chemical engineering faculty.


The Commons – A program of several Milwaukee-area universities promoting the applied use of entrepreneurial teaching.

Community Enterprises of Greater Milwaukee – Business incubator that provides startups with low-cost office and manufacturing space on Milwaukee’s north side, as well as financing, business development, marketing and office services.

The Granville Business Development CenterA business incubator located on Milwaukee’s northwest side that provides startups with full-service, furnished space, as well as access to business seminars, workshops and counseling on a fee-for-service basis.

IT Fusion Business Center 633 – Office space in Milwaukee’s Westown neighborhood with shared equipment, facilities and services.  Flexible private office, cubicle or hot desk plans available.

Jefferson Area Business Center – Shared service office space in Jefferson, Wisconsin. Available services include administrative support, marketing and temporary staffing.

Launch Box – Co-working space and business planning resources for entrepreneurs who want to start a business in Racine, Wisconsin.

MGE Innovation Center –  A collaboration of the University Research Park and Madison Gas & Electric to facilitate the transfer of technology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to the private sector, the Center provides laboratory and office space as well as support equipment and personnel to early stage companies.

Midwest Energy Research Consortium – Currently negotiating to lease three floors of the former Eaton Corp. research building in Milwaukee to create an incubator for startup energy, power and controls companies.

Milwaukee County Research Park Technology Innovation Center – High-technology business incubator located in the Milwaukee County Research Park.

Image courtesy of happykanppy /
Image courtesy of happykanppy /

University Research Park – Non-profit, internationally recognized research and technology park near the UW-Madison campus used by a broad range of startup companies, many of which are focused on biotechnology.

UW-Madison Student Business Incubator – The Student Business Incubator helps undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs develop their own businesses.

Ward4MKE – Provides office space and business services for startups..

Whitewater Incubation Program – Provides office space, business services and business planning, marketing and product development advice in UW-Whitewater’s Technology Park.