Incubators use a range of strategies, such as lowered rent, mentorship, shared expertise and networking, to increase the amount of dynamic work within a single defined area. Incubator facilities, once predominantly found in the tech industry, are now being used by private businesses and individuals within a range of industries. The growth of these new incubators has created hotbeds of innovation in cities around the globe.
Tech City in London, UK is a defined area of the city that has actively cultivated a technology focus and attracted investors such as Google, Facebook, Cisco and Intel, as well as a community of entrepreneurial companies. Tech City has grown from 200 businesses at the time of launching (approximately 2008) to 1300 digital companies.
More recently, the New Museum in New York City has applied this approach to foster local cross-industry innovation, by creating the first museum-led incubator, New Inc. Invite-only desks are made available to innovative businesses in the fields of architecture, design, technology and art.
Like-minded small businesses and retailers are decreasing risk by sharing low-cost locations and increasing demand through association. While businesses can gain a financial advantage from co-locating with similar niche operators, they are also, en masse, transforming the economic vitality of the surrounding area.
A row of former horse stables just off Oakland's 49th Avenue has become a destination micro community for the Bay Area's artists and designers. The area lures families and hipsters alike to take in wares from the artists' open studios.
Melrose Market, in Seattle, USA, used the name of an anchor tenant chef Matt Dillon's popular restaurant, Sitka & Spruce to curate a collection of complementary businesses to strengthen the overall offering. Dillon actually helped curate the other businesses within the building.