What is a Startup Incubator? 8 Features You Should Know About It
What is a startup incubator? The business world is like finding a way out of a maze puzzle! There are different terms and confusing concepts at every step! To run a successful business, you have to go through many different filters! A startup incubator might be just a new term for you, or you might have a vague idea of it!
For those young entrepreneurs who have great business ideas and are excited to get an opportunity, startup incubators are a savior. You might be thrilled to know how? We will move methodologically. After unfolding the term, we will discuss what can a startup incubator offer you!
We will try to comprehend everything you need to know before joining a startup incubator.
Even big companies like Uber were once in the seed incubators! So, brace yourself to start your journey of entrepreneurial independence!
Understanding What is a Startup Incubator?
As the name suggests, the first guess that comes to the mind of most people is a business initiator! That is pretty true! But, it is not an initiator; instead, it is a supporter! The initiator is always an entrepreneur. The startup incubators are purposely designed to help the new businesses and startups in their business operations.
More comprehensively, it can be defined as a collaborative program that supports and helps the infant startups to take off! It might include providing workspace, seeding, mentoring services, etc. Most often, startup incubators are seen as catalysts.
Just like the baby incubators are purposed to keep the premature babies alive, a startup incubator is what helps the new businesses to be alive in their early stages! Startup incubators are a type of business incubator that is aimed at mentoring and educating young entrepreneurs.
The startup incubators are non-profit organizations mostly. They might be held by public or private universities. Most commonly, they are associated with business schools and universities! How did the concept of startup incubator start? Let’s have a look at it!
How the term Startup Incubator was coined?
The concept of business incubators dates back to 1959. Joseph L.Mancuso started a Batavia Industrial Center in Batavia, New York. After it, the idea got popular in the 1980s, and it was spread to the UK, US, and other big countries under different names. Some called it innovation center or other named it as science parks. From 1980 to 2006, the number of business incubators in only North America raised from 12 to 980 in numbers.
How does a startup incubator work?
There is one more important question than, “‘What is a startup incubator?” It is how does it work?
Most people refer startups to tech-based businesses. Therefore, the myth automatically gets attached to the startup incubators. Undoubtedly, they might have the biggest pie in the graph. But, the startups can be of any type, and so are the startup incubators.
They are not limited to only tech startups, but it can be either a food industry or even a farming startup. Hence you can count on any type of startup business being supported by a startup. It can be a pharmaceutical startup, fashion startup, marketing, or a software house startup.
Your journey at a startup incubator can be like a roller coaster. There are different programs offered by startup incubators that have varying lengths. In our opinion, a startup incubation program of 3-4 months is ideal for getting started and see the results improvements.
Due to the high volume of entrepreneurs, each and every application is being critically evaluated. The purpose is to give a chance to every potential business idea. The applications are assessed on different criteria, and it varies from program to program.
If we talk about the content of startup incubators, there might be tweaks and variations in different programs offered. But, some of the common parts of any incubation program involves:
- Business Training
- Educational Sessions.
- Industry Mentors.
- Networking events
Let’s discuss each of these points
Someone with a great business idea with no management background or unaware of branding and marketing can benefit from such incubators. At startup incubators, comprehensive business training is the central part of any program. An Independent entrepreneur means who can manage every operation of his business.
Hence, startup incubators teach young entrepreneurs about all business operations and functions. Some of the leading business functions explained are marketing your services or products, management, supply chain and logistics management, and technology solutions for non-tech businesses. We cannot answer the question of ‘what is a startup incubator?’ without considering the business training.
Educational sessions are a great source of learning. Through the interactive educational sessions, you have an opportunity to discuss your concerns or any ambiguities. Sometimes, ideas from other entrepreneurs can help you to get the breakthrough you needed! These sessions are focused on new developments and innovations in the field of business! Modern marketing techniques to get benefited from, or a disruptive innovation that can skyrocket your targets!
You have an excellent opportunity to learn from the experiences of successful industrial entrepreneurs. It is said that you can learn from only those mistakes that you made yourself. But, these industrial mentors are there to guide you. Their mentorship enables you to learn from their experiences. You can avoid the mistakes that were made by them. Hence, mentoring polishes you to be a good entrepreneur at the end of every program. Furthermore, it is a source of motivation too.
Networking has a high value in business success. During the incubation period, different networking events are organized. The entrepreneurs have the opportunity to find some right business partners for their business idea who can make a substantial financial investment. Another benefit of networking is that it gives entrepreneurs to showcase their business ideas. They can get valuable inputs from other people around that can help them to improve their business models. But, the primary purpose of networking is to match potential investors with some entrepreneurs having a robust business idea.
We have explained all the essential things that you need to know about a startup incubator. From answering the initial queries like”What is a startup incubator?” to explain the whole process and stream of services have been discussed. Additionally, we discussed before, too, the applications are critically evaluated before admitting any business entrepreneur. As a final remark, we will like to say that you should have a complete understanding of your business idea as well as the niche you have decided to venture into.
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