You may have heard the term “business incubator” tossed around in the workplace but what exactly does it mean? Find out how an incubator differs from a business accelerator to help determine which one best meets your small business needs.
A business incubator is an organization that offers operation space to startups (physical or virtual). From this collaboration, a startup gains valuable benefits like mentoring and networking, in addition to sharing equipment and getting funding assistance. Essentially, an incubator provides a supportive environment for advancement and growth of your organization.
Getting an Edge
With a business incubator, your small business is privy to experience and knowledge you might not otherwise acquire for many years. For example, an incubator might offer a skills development initiative; the programs offered vary from one incubator to the next, but there are almost always educational programs available from them. Incubators typically provide workshops on the fundamentals, from business etiquette to pitches, to increase your organization’s chances of success.
The incubator has many relatives, including the business accelerator. One vital difference though is that incubators don’t have a set length of time on the support programs they provide a small business. Thus, a business incubator won’t advance your company too quickly but will instead do so at a pace you are comfortable with. Another key difference between the two is that an incubator is typically run as a non-profit, while a business accelerator asks for equity in a startup in return for the right to use resources or funding.
As your small business is unique, it’s vital to assess your needs and determine which will work better for meeting them, a business accelerator or an incubator. In the end, it’s a matter of which one will best help you to succeed.