The idea for business incubators arose in the 1960s, and their success and popularity have grown significantly since then, with over 1,000 incubators currently active in North America. The number of small business incubators in New York State has also been on the rise since the 1980s, with over 80 of them operating at this time.
The Long Island High Technology Incubator was formed in 1992. It was the result of the vision and efforts of three people: Dr. John Marburger, Dr. Richard Koehn, Dr. Jerry Schubel (the President, Dean of Life Sciences, and Provost of Stony Brook University, respectively). Their inspiration was the concept of transferring ideas and technology from the University to the private sector. Also pivotal in getting the project off the ground were the hard work and dedication of Francis ‘Pat’ Hession, who became the first president and first managing director of the corporation. The LIHTI project took nearly ten years to become a reality, but has been a greater success than even its founders could have anticipated, all owing to their devotion, hard work, and energy.
Since its opening, the Incubator has been associated in some way with more than 70 businesses. Forty-four companies have graduated successfully from the LIHTI program, contributing over $2.5 billion to the national economy and creating jobs for over 500 employees. All of these companies were still in business as of March of 2004. In 2003, a study by the National Business Incubation Association ranked LIHTI as the number one mixed-technology incubator in the nation.