If you are a startup looking for some help getting off the ground, you have a number of options.
One such way to get help is through a startup incubator.
Defining the Incubator
An incubator helps startups grow.
Organizations like universities, non-profits, civic groups or other government entities are the most common sources of incubators.
Startups have a chance to hone their products and skills while proving themselves when they are attached to an incubator.
Additionally, mentoring is a hot item in today’s incubators. Sometimes the mentoring is provided in exchange for a very small amount of equity in your company. Early stage investors often feel more comfortable when you are part of a startup incubator.
The main purpose of the incubator is to offer problem-solving programs, seed funding, mentoring, training and sometimes even a place to work with the sole purpose of helping startups grow.
An incubator offers long-term support in a collaborative environment. It groups many startups
together so they can learn from each other.
If you are looking for guidance and support, a startup incubator is a great option.
Investors Like Incubators
One of the major bonuses of being part of a startup incubator is that investors love incubators.
While your startup may be accepted into an incubator, you won’t stay there forever. You will have to leave, and on the day you do, you and your startup will be very prepared to enter the business world poised for growth.
Plus, at the end of the incubator program you will most likely get to pitch your business to investors. The incubator helps you get to this point, and the investors feel more comfortable giving money to someone who has been involved in a good incubator program.
Investors trust the incubators to do their due diligence for them. It’s not easy to get accepted into an incubator program, so if you are, and you make it through the program, investors know that your startup is worthy.
Incubators Fine-Tune Your Startup
You’ve probably done your research and looked at other startups. You know what works and what doesn’t.
While this research is certainly worth your while, the incubator takes that research one step further and puts it into action.
In a startup incubator program, your business has access to its own personal case study. You’ll have mentors and other startups to help bounce ideas off of and fine-tune your business plan and strategies.
How to Get Accepted
Depending on the type of incubator, it can be hard to get accepted. Yet, if it’s just an incubator offering work space and internet access, you’ll find it easier to get in.
If you want to join an incubator for the mentoring opportunities as well as financial assistance, you’ll have to apply.
Search for incubators online and in your area and learn about their requirements. Then, follow through with the entire application process. Don’t neglect providing all the information necessary as the best incubators are often the most competitive.
If one incubator denies you, don’t give up. Keep applying to others.
To sum up the services offered by a startup incubator, we’ve put together this list of common offerings. They help you with:
- The basics of business
- Networking and connections to investors
- Financial assistance
- Direct access to loans
- Computer and internet access
- Introductions to investors and venture capital
- Office space
- Help navigating the business world
- Legal counsel
- Team building
If you’re interested in joining a startup incubator, check out the National Business Incubation Association
. They help connect startups to incubators.
Now that you know what a startup incubator is and its offerings, you can answer the question, "Could a startup incubator be right for your company?"
Are you a new startup ready to succeed? Are you looking to get your new business off the ground and watch it rise to success? We are here for you. We can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Outsource your HR duties, finances, payroll and more to us. Contact Escalon today to get started.