The financial sustainability of creative incubator

The project aims to support the financial sustainability of creative incubator units by enabling them to develop and share innovative methods to move away from a general dependence on public funding.

It provides both local and regional authorities and (other) developers with knowledge and skills to adjust incubators’ finance models in a way that creates and consolidates financially sustainable incubators in creative industries that are as independent as possible of public funding. The project Financially Sustainable Creative Incubator Units (InCompass) was officially approved by INTERREG IVC for funding in February 2012. It is a three year project that will run until December 2014.


InCompass is a partnership with representatives of seven local and regional authorities, three universities  and research institutes (including OTB, TU Delft), two business parks and three regional growth agencies from 12 European countries. These are Scotland, Spain, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Slovakia, Italy, England, Portugal, Sweden, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Creative incubator units

InCompass undertakes a programme of transnational research and analysis of existing and emerging innovative practices to tap new and lasting sources of income. It uses a number of creative incubator units in operation across the EU as the main study vehicle. Study visits to these units are organised by partners in the project and reports of these visits are prepared by the entire consortium of partners. Feedback to these study visit reports by Regional Implementation Groups (RIGs) will be the material to base recommendations to local and regional authorities and developers upon. The RIG Delft will tailor methods of visited incubators elsewhere in the EU to the local and regional context in the Netherlands.


InCompass recognizes a broad spectrum of possible strategies to generate income from other sources than direct public funding. These strategies are grouped together as commercial contextualisation; social contextualization; and tiers of support, networks and partnerships. For each of these three themes, a Work Group composed of partners in InCompass, one as lead partner, is responsible for collecting data during the study visits and modelling these data as input for the study visit report.

The kick-off meeting of InCompass took place in Dundee in February 2012 and was hosted by the project coordinator Dundee College. After that, two study visit have been organised: one to Rotterdam (May 2012) and one to Milan (June 2012). Representatives of the project partners visited two incubators in Rotterdam (the Creative Factory and Dnamo / RDM Campus) and four in Milan (Laboratorio Innovazione Breda, Fabbrica del Vapore, HUB Milano and Make a Cube3). The third visit will take place in November 2012 and goes to Malmö and Copenhagen. In Rotterdam, advantage was taken of the presence of the InCompass consortium in the Creative Factory to organise an initial meeting for the members of the RIG Delft.


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Or contact

Arie Romein
OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment
Delft University of Technology

Jaffalaan 9
2628 BX Delft
The Netherlands

T: +31 (0)15 27 87139
F: +31 (0)15 27 83450
E: Arie Romein


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