Services linked to incubator/accelerator support includes that a DIH can support start-ups with strategies on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) including patenting strategies and business development. DIHs can also give input on market needs as the DIH may have close connections to potential customers. Services within, e.g., the categories community building and ecosystem learning are also closely linked to supporting start-ups. DIHs can also support incubators with, e.g., contract research and provision of technology infrastructure .
In terms of business development, some DIHs support incubators with IPR strategies and management. This can include that a DIH helps to set up a start-up’s strategy for how to secure and produce value from the IPR in the company. A patenting approach can be one strategy, but not the only way. Moreover, DIHs can support start-ups by helping to write proposals for research grants. Such grants can also enable cooperation through contract research between an RTO/university in a DIH and a start-up. Bilateral projects between a competence centres and company without external funding from, e.g., regional/national/EU grants, may in many cases be too costly for a start-up. To this end, some start-ups collaborate with, e.g., master’s students where a start-up provides a thesis topic for one or several master’s students and also provide guidance during their thesis in collaboration with a university representative (e.g., a professor).
Start-ups may change strategies within a short time-period to adapt to findings regarding market needs. Hence, research grants (which usually requires several months from submission to accept/reject) may prove too slow. DIHs therefore need to have mechanisms to quickly respond to start-ups. Other services to consider which do not require a high expense for the DIH include:
- Free access to facilities/labs/offices. These free leases could become paid leases after the start-up reaches a certain size.
- Discounted access to other DIH-services.
- Invitations to start ups within an incubator to DIH supported events/seminars.