UBI Global names the world’s best accelerators and incubators

7 Nov 2019

From left: Holger Meyer, head of research at UBI Global; Gary Leyden, NDRC; Madison Roche and Eamonn Sayers, GEC; Ali Amin, CEO of UBI Global. Image: UBI Global

In a ranking across 82 countries, Dublin’s NDRC and Guinness Enterprise Centre have been named among the top accelerators and incubators in the world.

The latest ranking of start-up incubators and accelerators from UBI Global has been announced at the company’s World Incubation Summit in Doha, Qatar.

The 2019-2020 World Benchmark Study of Business Incubators and Accelerators evaluates the impact and performance of university-linked programmes as well as those that are privately, publicly and corporate-run.

More than 360 programmes across 82 countries were selected for the latest study from a total of 1,580 that were assessed.

In the top five private business incubators, Ireland’s Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) makes an appearance alongside China’s IE Orchard National Incubator, Brazil’s Miditec, Jordan’s iPark and – the world number one – 1871, Chicago’s centre for technology and entrepreneurship.

Ireland also made an appearance in the world’s top five public business accelerators with the NDRC ranked along with Belgium’s EIT Digital Accelerator, Russia’s GenerationS, Spain’s ISDI and, the cream of this crop, India’s Kerala Startup Mission.

Dublin’s innovation district

The awards are a strong nod of recognition for the Liberties area of Dublin where both of the Irish programmes are based. The area has grown as an innovation cluster and a late 2018 report from TechIreland revealed that this part of Dublin 8 accounted for more than 115 start-ups, largely attributed to the presence of the NDRC, GEC and the Digital Hub.

“Delighted” to be recognised by UBI Global, GEC centre manager Eamonn Sayers said: “With our expansion development of the GEC, our rapidly growing university programme and continuing roll-out of our regional programmes CoConnect and Prosper, this gives us great impetus and drive as Ireland’s home for entrepreneurs. It is also fantastic to see our neighbours in Dublin 8, the NDRC, being similarly honoured. Dublin 8 truly is Dublin’s innovation district.”

Gary Leyden, commercial director at NDRC, added: “Recognition such as this from UBI Global once again highlights the hard work we have been doing at NDRC for more than 10 years now. Building a pipeline of digital start-ups, constructing a portfolio of internationally scalable ventures and developing Dublin’s entrepreneur ecosystem has long been part of NDRC’s mission.”

Leyden also spoke about the “creative cluster” growing in the Liberties and the benefits this brings to the local start-up ecosystem. “We hope that NDRC’s acceleration activities in Waterford and Galway will, in time, bring similar benefits to the west and south-east of the country,” he said.

World’s top start-up launchpads

According to the UBI Global World Benchmark Study, participating incubation programmes had an average budget of more than $4.5m. In total, the assessed programmes were responsible for the successful incubation or acceleration of 153,000 start-ups through the active participation of almost 25,000 coaches, mentors and volunteers.

The best of the university business incubators as determined by UBI Global is the UK’s SetSquared partnership between the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. The DMZ at Ryerson University in Canada, İTÜ Çekirdek at Istanbul Technical University, PoliHub at Politecnico di Milano, and Yes!Delft from Delft University of Technology and The Hague University of Applied Sciences completed the top five.

For university business accelerators, the leader is the Higher School of Economics incubator at Russia’s National Research University. Aalto University Startup Center in Finland, Imec in Belgium, Startup Aggieland in the US and York Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Canada all featured at the top of this list.

Top of the charts for public business incubators is Italy’s I3P, hosted at Politecnico di Torino. Beijing’s Zhongguancun Software Park Incubation Service, ETC Baltimore, Montpellier BIC and Uppsala Innovation Centre also made the top five.

The best of private business accelerators in the ranking is Russia’s Global Venture Alliance, with Israel’s 365x, The Accelerator Centre in Canada, Chinaccelerator, Seed Spot in the US and Brazil’s Iniciativa Jovem from Shell all getting a top-five mention.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.