Monday 20 January, 2014
A business incubator, or incubator program, is a program that supports small start-ups with resources, services and a network of connections. The goal of an incubator is to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. For small businesses, an incubator provides a path to securing investment and getting their company off the ground.
What Incubator Programs Do
The goal of an incubator program is to create firms that are viable and can now stand on their own in the marketplace. It’s kind of like a university that start-ups graduate from. Once they graduate, they hopefully can get started in the black.
Some incubators are for profit while others are non-profit organizations. They may get funds from the government as part of programs to stimulate the local economy. That’s another major goal of an incubator – to stimulate the economy.
Incubators provide physical resources such as office space and materials, as well as virtual resources like hosting, websites or bandwidth. Some incubators offer services such as secretarial services. Most offer consulting in some form. A central idea with incubators is to use their experience and expertise to help young entrepreneurs fine tune their business skills.
They also offer access to connections in their network, which is a major benefit for start-ups because this is how many gain the funding they need.
Support for Today’s Business World
For entrepreneurs, incubator programs offer a way to bypass the corporate ladder and strike out on your own. All you need to start your own business is an innovative idea and the drive to realize it. You don’t need to go back to school for your MBA.
Incubator programs represent a growing trend in the business world of today. In the modern business world, start-ups are largely leading innovation. Incubators provide these fledgling companies with what they need to get started.
Finding an Incubator Program near You
There are over 1,250 incubators in the United States and this number is continually growing. Some of them are brick and mortar office spaces while others are virtual programs, only operating online.
Most are established to serve their local business community. The Colorado Rocky Mountain Front Range, for example, which many call the new Silicon Valley, has a thriving start-up scene and a number of incubator programs have been set up there with government support.
Many tailor themselves to a particular niche in the market. For example, La Cocina is an incubator in San Francisco for low-income minority women who want to launch food industry businesses.
If you’re an entrepreneur bursting with ideas, how do you find an incubator near you? The best place to start is by checking out the National Business Incubator Association’s website here. The website offers a search feature and directory where you can find incubators, as well as information on getting started.