BICs are support organizations for innovative small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and entrepreneurs. They are recognized through a quality certification scheme, which enables them to obtain the EU-BIC Label (the only EU label qualifying IBIs at European level and beyond).
The BICs are an instrument for regional development developed initially by the European Commission DG-Regio in the mid 80s and has subsequently been adopted in all Europe and beyond.
Their mission is to contribute to the overall economic and social development of the regions through the implementation of support services to entrepreneurs, helping them to transform into reality their innovative business ideas, and the delivery of tailored services to existing SMEs, aimed at modernizing and innovating them. To this end Business and Innovation Centres offer a tailor-made, integrated system of services, making sure that the overall incubation process is being delivered, networking its services and activities with those of the other key actors of the regional system for innovation.
BICs can assume many forms and can organize themselves in different ways, as long as they respect the EU-BIC Quality Mark Criteria, which rule the granting of the EU-BIC Label.
Today there are more than 150 BICs networked by the European BIC Network, the major network in Europe dedicated to innovation-based incubators, covering more than 200 operational sites .