City officials praised the role of a business incubator Wednesday in helping boost the city's economic growth, pointing to a study that attributes nearly $174 million in direct economic activity in the city to the incubator's current and recent tenants.
The survey for the city-funded Emerging Technology Centers looked at businesses supported by the incubator between 2012 and 2014.
It found that 43 current tenants employ 285 people, generating $65.4 million in direct economic impact and more than $90 million in spinoff activity. Six of the current 49 tenants were excluded from the survey because the companies are one-person shops or do not generate revenue, ETC President Deb Tillett said.
Of the 76 companies that have graduated from the program, 48 remained in Baltimore, employing 311 people and generating $108.5 million in direct economic activity, as well as more than $153 million in spinoff effects, the survey estimated.
Tillett said the study, by the University of Baltimore Jacob France Institute, shows the incubator is working. The center, which moved its headquarters to a 20,000-square-foot space in Highlandtown from Canton last fall, is fully leased, with a waiting list of more than 40 businesses, officials said.
"People want to be here," Tillett said. "That's a testament to the entrepreneurial ecosystem that the city has helped us to create."
Since 1999, the ETC has served more than 350 businesses, including Millenial Media, R2integrated, and Groove, according to its website. The nonprofit was started to support small businesses and received about $800,000 in city funding last year, about a third of its budget. The rest came from items such as rent and investment income.
The analysis does not address the ETC's role in helping the companies, but says "it can be assumed" that the ETC's affordable rent, start-up services and relationships with universities contribute to a company's decision to locate in the city.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun