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Business Program

Business Incubator – Bring your Business Ideas to Life

Kendall College’s on-campus Business Incubator is a collaborative workspace that fosters creativity and innovation. The Incubator, in conjunction with Kendall’s key industry partners, can help you bring your business concept to fruition. Any member of the Kendall community—students, faculty, staff, alumni—can take advantage of the Incubator’s resources, which include:

  • An advanced technology workspace for holding one-on-one coaching sessions, filming promotional videos, hosting business plan competition meetings, and running free workshops
  • An entrepreneurial ecosystem made up of students, business owners, and the small business community
  • Access to the expertise of professionals within the Chicago food & beverage and retail communities
  • Capital financing for creating product prototypes, incorporating and starting a business, and more

Kendall’s Vision for Student Entrepreneursweb_nowisthetime_200x400

When Kendall launched the Business Incubator in the fall of 2016, we had a unique vision for how it could help our students develop their entrepreneurial ideas and manifest them in the world. While most incubators focus on science and technology, Kendall’s centers around what we do best: culinary innovations, hospitality, sustainability, and small retail operations.

Development of Culinary Business Ideas  

The Incubator’s targeted mission “makes Kendall a school of choice for food-focused entrepreneurs,” says director Rob Watson. “If you’re considering a food business, no matter what your niche is, we have an expert who can help you get started. The Incubator teaches students a new and scientific way to solve problems, and it provides structure and methodology around entrepreneurship.”

Before the Incubator launched, Watson didn’t anticipate just how popular it would be. “I asked students and faculty to come to me if they had a business idea,” he said. “And they have been knocking my door down. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!”

When student entrepreneurs are ready to prototype their products, they are paired with leaders from Kendall’s industry partners, The Hatchery and FamilyFarmed. Students pitch their ideas to the leader, and if their ideas are accepted, the partner helps commercialize the business concept by offering guidance on intellectual property laws, prototyping, product testing and validation, financing, licensing, supply chain issues, marketing, social media, and more.

“The goal is to create a community of entrepreneurs who support one another, share their contacts and resources, and help fuel one another’s ventures,” Watson explains. “It’s about creating a Kendall ecosystem within the Chicago small business community.” Read more about the Business Incubator and its place on Kendall’s campus in this recent Q&A with Rob Watson.


 What is a Business Incubator? Did you know…

According to the National Business Incubation Association, about one-third of the 1,250 business incubators in the United States are at colleges and universities, up from one-fifth in 2006.

Business incubators exist to provide structural support and professional guidance to companies in their infancy. Signing up for an incubator can better the company’s chance of long-term success. The resources provided at a business incubator include entrepreneurial coaching, valuable networking, and physical space for your business. In an incubator, fresh entrepreneurs cross the bridge between a great idea and the details of its execution. If you’re starting a new business, an incubator will help you connect with seasoned mentors and venture capitalists who can help your business flourish.

Career Opportunities Career Opportunities

The Kendall College School of Business teaches practical skills that define successful careers.

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Tuition Assistance Tuition Assistance

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Degree Completion Degree Completion

Already have your associate degree or international diploma? You may continue on to earn your B.A. in Business in as...

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