Bright ideas will be turned into successful commercial ventures through WaikatoLink's Venture Incubator, which was opened to local entrepreneurs last week.
WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato, has helped grow businesses out of ventures based on University of Waikato science and technology for several years.
It has now extended this opportunity to entrepreneurs outside the university.
WaikatoLink's chief executive Mark Stuart said he was looking for bright ideas or start-up ventures with high growth potential and said preference would be given to those using technology.
The incubator would help the new businesses build strong foundations which allow them to grow, Stuart said.
"Often they build the systems that are appropriate to the size of their business at the time but they eventually grow out of."
WaikatoLink has the expertise, partners and networks to help entrepreneurs assess their business ideas and market opportunities, and to develop business models and robust business practices, Stuart said.
It can help incubator tenants find strategic partners, raise capital and access markets such as China and America.
Business incubators are a proven international model - US statistics show 87 per cent of businesses survive post-incubation, compared with an average small business survival rate of 40 per cent.
This month Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson announced a $1.8 million funding boost for the incubator support programme.
WaikatoLink has successfully moved a number of ventures out of incubation. Successes include Ectus, which was successfully exited in 2005, and rapidly growing biotech company ZyGEM which is pursuing the billion-dollar market for DNA tests.
It currently has a number of its own ventures under incubation ranging from Novatein, which creates bioplastics from animal processing waste, to Solenza, a novel building integrated solar technology product.