On the 1st of July 2015 Umeå Biotech Incubator kicked off a multi-stakeholder development project funded partly by the European Union Development Fund. The project was initiated in collaboration with Region Västerbotten, the County council of Västerbotten, Umeå municipality and Umeå university.
The main aim is to establish a robust and sustainable process that will make science based companies grow beyond the startup phase – and create benefit for people and society.
Several success factors identified by external reviewer
The assigned review researcher that has studied the project closely for over one and a half years has just completed a new round of in-depth interviews and result evaluation.
– The HIBA-project at UBI is one of the best run projects I have ever evaluated, says Helena Brandt, consultant researcher from the Demokratikonsult AB.
She has worked continuously with evaluation of different EU-funded programmes since the mid-1990-ies. Helena Brandt describes the life science incubator as an exceptionally flexible and agile organisation. Besides having clear mandate, goals and correlating activities with closely monitored outcomes, there incubator has managed to create a systematic agile environment that almost daily look at risks and adjusts the services to best suit the cases and projects.
– In addition, the staff is part of a learning culture and absorbs competence from consultants and outside expertise into the organisation, says Helena Brandt.
Startups rate support as “crucial” to their development
The acronym HIBA is a short for the Swedish sentence” Hållbar inkubation bidrar till acceleration av life science idéer” – which in English can be translated as Sustainable incubation contributes to the acceleration of life science ideas. And crucial milestones and goals are starting to fall into place.
– We have developed and tested the later stages of incubation in the past few years, and it looks as if some of our more mature startups may be able to attract external capital as planned within the project period, says Jennie Ekbeck, CEO at UBI.
But the most important results for the UBI-team is the positive and constructive assessments from the resident cases and startups. Among the most appreciated features in the incubation process, these five were highlighted by interviewees during the latest evaluation study:
1. That UBI challenges us to continuously improve
2. That UBI pushes us to finetune and adjust the business ideas
3. That UBI has great insights on market situation and demands
4. That UBI offers qualified education in pitch training
5. That UBI brings us along on valuable investment and partnering events
In addition, the services and coaching supplied by UBI was rated as ”absolutely crucial” for the positive development of the value in the companies by more than half of all cases interviewed. 17 out of 18 answered they would recommend colleagues and other researchers to work with the life science incubator in Umeå.
Text: Carolina Hawranek
Photos: Malin Grönborg and Carolina Hawranek