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business incubator

January 19, 2009 - 12:53pm

From the Harvester Center:

The world’s first business incubator, The Batavia Industrial Center (BIC), is planning a year long celebration of 50 years of business development and job creation.

The businesses at BIC today employ more than 300 people in buildings that sprawl across 25 acres in the center of Batavia and were built over 100 years ago.  The companies that have “graduated” from the incubator employ thousands more and occupy properties worth millions of dollars in the region and across the country.  Events, new programs and announcements are being planned to recognize the success of the BIC, its entrepreneurs and the industry it spawned to help people around the world.  It is estimated that there are 5,000 incubators across Asia, North America, Europe and Latin America.  Jiang Zemin, the former President of China, hails business incubation as: “The most important creation of sci-tech industrialization in the 20th century.”

Business incubators are buildings that improve the survival and success of start-up and small businesses by providing rental space, shared equipment, support services and management guidance.  This concept was pioneered by Joseph L. Mancuso in 1959 as a solution to extremely high unemployment and the re-use of a large obsolete industrial building in the small city of Batavia, NY.  The organization responsible for business incubation in China erected a bronze bust of Mr. Mancuso at their incubator in Anshan China acclaiming him as the “founder of the incubator movement”.  January 19, is the late Mr. Mancuso’s birthday.

The Mancuso Business Development Group, led by B. Thomas Mancuso, SIOR, provides leadership to develop and operate incubators or small business centers that help people succeed.  They currently manage almost 3 million square feet of small business focused properties across Upstate New York.

For more information, please call B. Thomas Mancuso at 585.343.280 x 14 or email: [email protected].

September 2, 2008 - 10:33am

The building that became known to the world as the first-ever business incubator earns a spot in the Holland Land Office Museum's countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

Museum Director Pat Weissend relates the history of this famous plant:

In 1886, the Johnson Harvester Company of Brockport, NY moved to Batavia following a fire in the Brockport plant. Company officials chose Batavia because the railroad lines that came through the village would make the shipment of product easier. Also, local citizens purchased 14 acres of land along Cemetery Street and donated it to the company to build its plant. Cemetery Street was renamed Harvester Avenue.

In 1910, a controlling interest in the Johnson Harvester Company was acquired by the Massey-Harris Company of Canada. One of the more well known products of the Massey-Harris Company was the Clipper Combine.

In 1953, the company merged with Harry Ferguson Limited of England and became Massey-Harris-Ferguson. Five years later, the name was shortened to Massey-Ferguson.

After the plant closed a few years after the merger with Ferguson Limited, the city began the search for a new tenant. When no one could be persuaded to take over the enormous space—industrial plants all over the nation were beginning to close their doors at the time—Charles Mancuso was charged with the task of filling the space. So was born the business incubator.

Mancuso came up with the idea to rent portions of the building to small manufacturing firms until they were large enough to strike out on their own. This type of arrangement allowed startup businesses to save money and resources until they grew enough to go out on their own.

One of the first tenants to the Industrial Center was a chicken company. Mr. Mancuso was traveling around the US looking for other potential tenants and spreading the word about Genesee County. He used the chicken company as an example, and started calling it an incubator. Mancuso invented the world's first business incubator. Today, there are an estimated 5,000 business incubators in the world. In Anshan City, China there is a statue of Joseph Mancuso, the father of the business incubator.

Visit the museum's Web site for more about the business incubator and to keep up with the countdown of The Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous.

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