Dome Corp. said yesterday that it will expand its small-business incubator at the Bayview Research Campus in East Baltimore by 20 percent in an effort to serve more fledgling technology and biotechnology firms.
Dome, a for-profit company affiliated with the Johns Hopkins University, opened its Alpha Center business incubator in 1989. The AlphaCenter provides small companies with low-cost office or laboratory space and access to the support of an informal network of business leaders, the center's manager, Karen Russell, said.
"The tenants in them receive a lot of attention," she said. Business leaders "see these companies more readily than if they were in a warehouse in Columbia."
The city donated the building, which helps keep the cost of renting space low.
Economic development professionals in the public sector believe that the lower operating costs made possible by incubators can help small technology companies survive their early years, paving the way for growth in revenues and employment that benefit the city and state later.
The addition announced yesterday will add 6,000 square feet of office space to the 30,000-square-foot Alpha Center, Ms. Russell said. The space will be on an unfinished floor of the Alpha Center building. Longer-term plans, which are tentative, call for expanding again into a nearby building, she said.
She said the center is looking for life sciences companies to fill the new space but will consider other firms. "We like them to be technology-oriented, preferably in the health sciences, life sciences or environmental sciences. We wouldn't rule out engineering firms that might be developing something in the health field. We wouldn't rule out computer firms either. . . . We would have to look at what kind of economic development benefits are there."
Six companies are already based in the center. Ms. Russell said that Dome is talking to "a couple of people" about locating in the new space.