The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) recognized UF Innovate’s Sid Martin Biotech with the “Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year” award for the record third time.

Each year, InBIA hosts The International Conference on Business Incubation to connect individuals in the industry and recognize leaders in the field. During the ceremony on June 25, held virtually, Sid Martin Biotech Director Mark Long accepted two awards, the “Rural Incubator of the Year” and the “Randall M. Whaley Global Incubator of the Year.” This recognition and the many already awarded means the incubator is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with clear success.

“Being named the best incubator on the planet is amazing. Receiving this award three times in a decade speaks volumes to the tremendous resource we have here in Florida with the Sid Martin Biotech incubator,” David Norton, UF’s vice president for research, told UF News. “The University of Florida is an international leader in translating research into relevant impact. The award reaffirms this.”

UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech is the second of UF’s two business incubators, along with The Hub, located in the Gainesville Innovation District. The urban tech and business district, anchored by The Hub, bustles with over 80 cutting-edge companies and is nestled between the University of Florida and downtown Gainesville.

The opportunities for innovation abound in the Innovation District, and it is clear through the success of the entities within its area. Last year, The Hub won “Best Mixed-Use Incubator of the Year” at InBIA. In addition, Sid Martin Biotech won the “Biotech Incubator of the Year” and the “Randall M. Whaley Global Incubator of the Year” in both 2013 and 2017.

Known for its success with encouraging startups, Sid Martin Biotech has raised more than $8.8 billion in funding and created more than 8,000 high-tech jobs. More than 82 percent of Sid Martin companies are in operation five years post-graduation, according to UF News.

“Sid Martin’s reputation is built on the success of the companies that graduate from the program, the amount of funding the companies acquire, and what the program offers,” Assistant Director Merrie Shaw, who has been with Sid Martin since 2005, told UF News. “Clients have access to shared common scientific equipment, lab space, conference rooms, greenhouses, a vivarium, advisors, the UF library, and more -- all in one location. That’s extremely rare.”

InBIA is a “global nonprofit organization that has welcomed and supported entrepreneurial organizations for over 30 years,” according to its website. The root of their goals is to help entrepreneurs turn dreams into an innovative reality through their member-based network including incubators and other entrepreneurship centers.

Between the University, UF Innovate, and the Innovation District, Gainesville is increasingly becoming known as an innovative, pioneering city nationwide.