Jess Gardiner from BRW writes: I first had the idea to write a feature on the local technology-business incubator and accelerator scene while at a lunch. It was a roundtable hosted by Microsoft to announce its BizSpark partnership with some of the local organisations. Chatting over beers and steak were representatives from Blue Chilli, PushStart, AngelCube, York Butter Factory, Fishburners and other co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators. The blokes around the table (minus me and a couple of other female journalists and Microsoft representatives) were obviously passionate about the local eco-system. They had similar backgrounds as entrepreneurs, similar philosophies about building up local talent and similar approaches on how it could be done… Almost… But not quite. And I found this quite interesting.
To a non-tech business reader just hearing snippets of information, such as Pollenizer company Spreets being bought by Yahoo!7 for $40 million in January 2011, and Startmate company Grabble being gobbled by Walmart in December 2011, it might seem that all of these different groups are pretty much one and the same. “There’s the co-working spaces, the incubators and the accelerators and they’re all quite different but they all look the same from the outside and that’s where the confusion is,” Blue Chilli’s Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin says (to prove my point!).