One the best places to incubate a startup company is in a Merrillville business park, at least according to the industry professionals.
The National Business Incubation Association recognized the Purdue Technology Centers and the Purdue Foundry with the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year award, its highest distinction.
"This award is the result of two decades of hard work and several significant entrepreneurial system improvements under (Purdue president) Mitch Daniels' leadership during the past two years," said Dan Hasler, president and chief entrepreneurial officer of Purdue Research Foundation.
Only 65 companies have actually graduated from the incubators thus far, but it is a statewide operation that shows promise because of the range of services offered, The National Business Incubation Association noted in its awards citation. More companies are likely to graduate as the program matures, and it is already a major employer.
"If Purdue Research Parks were listed as a single employer, they would be the 20th largest employer in Indiana, according to a 2011 study by Thomas P. Miller and Associates, which also concluded that the network drives about 10,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in economic activity annually," the citation noted.
Purdue University's technology centers are located in the four-site Purdue Research Park network, which has sites in West Lafayette, Indianapolis and New Albany in addition to Merrillville Center in the 386-acre AmeriPlex at the Crossroads.
The 60,000-square-foot facility center provides low-cost flexible space and shared office services to new tech firms. Companies based there can get help from Purdue with business planning development, client research and commercialization.
More than 260 businesses are based out of the Purdue Research Parks, the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. They collectively employ about 4,500 people at an average wage of $63,000.
Currently, 33 companies — including Expedio Technologies, GO Technologies, and IdentityLogix LLC — lease space in the Merrillville incubator.