A Business Incubator is an innovative, supporting organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of typically Start-up Companies or entrepreneurial firms at the beginning of their existence. They can be seen as a special form of Outsourcing, supporting a Virtual Business.
They may be for-profit (private incubators) or non-profit (public incubators) and may specialize in a particular industry or not.
Normally a client company resides in the incubator facility. But most incubators also serve virtual clients such as home-based businesses or early-stage companies that have their own premises, but still want to benefit from certain incubator services.
In most countries, incubation programs are funded or supported (infrastructure) by local, regional or national governments as part of their economic development strategy.