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Incubator Program at Old Dominion's VMASC Attracting Modeling and Simulation Firms

The incubator program run by Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) has had a run of recent success attracting modeling and simulation (M&S) companies to set up offices in Hampton Roads.

Last fall, California-based Alelo announced it would open its first East Coast office at VMASC. And now, Command Post Technologies, a startup tech company, has become the eighth M&S firm to join VMASC's Technology and Business Accelerator, or incubator.

CPT was founded in late 2008 by Army veteran Scott Bisciotti, who told Inside Business he wanted to "capitalize on lessons learned there and translate that into what's needed on the industry side."

CPT is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that offers subject matter expertise, program management, engineering and analysis in support of all areas of program management and test and evaluation, as well as joint training, system interoperability, capability development, experimentation, irregular warfare, cyberspace and information operations.

CPT chose the VMASC incubator in part because of the space and amenities it offers small companies at below-market rates. "They've taken us in as an incubator company to help us as we get our foundation established," Bisciotti said.

Thomas Reese, VMASC's director of business development and technology transfer, said companies are attracted to the incubator by a number of factors. In addition to receiving below-market rental rates as a startup offer, companies get to work in the same building as ODU researchers, some of the leading thinkers in the M&S industry in North America.

Finally, the cities of Portsmouth and Suffolk (VMASC sits practically on the border of the two cities) are attracting M&S business to the I-664 corridor because of the proximity to VMASC and U.S. Joint Forces Command, and because of incentive zones that have been created to provide rebates on business licenses and property taxes for qualifying businesses.

The push for the "tech zone" was driven in part by the desire to retain companies that "graduate" from the incubator once they are ready to set up on their own.

Reese said the incubator is attractive for M&S companies "looking for the footing they need to get started."

Companies typically stay in the system between one to three years while the program monitors their progression, with hopes to eventually "transition them into market-rate space in the local economy," Reese said.

This article was posted on: January 12, 2010

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