If we have an innovative idea for doing business but don’t know how to make it happen or don’t have all the tools needed, let’s consider entrusting ourselves to the “expert hands” of an incubator. Business incubators, also called Business Innovation Centers (BIC), are business support centers that offer consultancy, training and financing services to help companies, startups, and professionals develop new ideas and grow. BICs are often set up by universities or chambers of commerce to support local economic development and can be funded by public authorities.
They may offer services such as access to labs and equipment, mentoring and networking with other businesses and investors. It is a “protected environment” capable of accelerating the process of transforming an idea into a real business capable of generating profit. The support services provided by the BICs are varied and range from offering low-cost workspaces (offices, conference rooms, etc.) to consultancy: many of these realities intervene concretely by financing our ideas when they consider them valid.
The Different “Typologies” Of Incubators
- First-generation incubators. They mainly offer space and allow young companies to cut costs relating to secretarial services, rent, electricity and telephone;
- Second-generation incubators. In addition to supporting logistics management (offices, etc.), they directly finance new ideas and businesses. Some offer business plan drafting consultancy and free or limited-cost marketing campaigns;
- Third-generation incubators. They complete the offer of first and second-generation incubators by helping entrepreneurs and companies access new markets and develop their customer base. They are mainly oriented towards the development of innovative technological projects.
A Network Of Contacts
Incubators can be public, private or mixed (if they use both public and private funds) and are aimed not only at young businesses and micro-enterprises in the startup phase but also at professionals with useful ideas and consolidated businesses who want to open new company branches.
Turning to an incubator can be the right solution because it allows us to reduce or eliminate part of the management costs for a few months and directly provide us with funding or facilitate access to state public funds. Finally, BICs facilitate entry into a network that integrates knowledge and capital by opening the doors for us with contacts and relationships that would take us months to create.
Access An Incubator
Access to BICs is complex: a team of experts will evaluate our business idea in terms of technical, economic and financial feasibility. Although many incubators offer a consultancy service to create the business plan, since there is a lot of competition, we still present our idea in a form as close as possible to that of a professional business plan.
Most incubators host a business for three months to three years, but some offer support for up to six years. Let us get information from the nearest Chamber of Commerce about the “incubator access” announcements active in our region, or let us get information through the regional help desks for entrepreneurship.
How Does A Business Incubator Work?
Business incubators are usually organized in three main phases:
- startup phase;
- growth stage;
- Exit stage.
During the startup phase, the incubator provides resources such as office space, equipment, and mentorship to help the business get off the ground. In the growth phase, the incubator will continue providing advice on developing your product or service and connecting you with potential clients or investors. Finally, in the exit phase, they will help you prepare for the sale of the business or the transition to a more traditional structure.
The Benefits Of Using A Business Incubator
Using a business incubator can provide many benefits to entrepreneurs, such as access to capital from investors or lenders, mentoring from experienced professionals, networking opportunities with potential partners, guidance on legal fees and access to discounted office space.
Additionally, being part of an established network can give early-stage businesses more credibility when seeking funding or partnerships with larger organizations. Plus, having access to resources like mentorships can help entrepreneurs avoid the most common mistakes people make when starting a business.
But It’s Not All Gold
Perhaps the most well-known botches new companies make while picking a business incubator aren’t exploring accessible projects. While certain hatcheries might offer particular administrations or backing gainful to a specific kind of business, others may be better for your necessities. It’s essential to require the investment to explore the various projects and administrations every hatchery offers and comprehend how they align with your business objectives. Considering the expense of utilizing a hatchery program is vital, as some might expect you to pay a lease or capital in return for their administrations.
Another error business people can make is accepting that all hatcheries offer similar help and assets. Programs frequently shift significantly in the amount and nature of administrations advertised. Before continuing, it is essential to comprehend what each program offers its individuals and any limitations or assumptions put on the organizations that join. Besides, it is essential to consider the administrations offered and assess their actual utilization for explicit business goals.
Which Incubator To Choose? It Depends On The Goals
At last, numerous business visionaries should consider their drawn-out objectives while picking a hatching program. While certain projects are intended to assist new businesses with making headway rapidly and pushing ahead, others help all through the organization’s development cycle and even assist with exiting the incubator once the organization has accomplished its objectives.
Understanding how a business incubator can help you and your group now and in what’s to come is fundamental in figuring out which is ideal for yourself and your business objectives. While picking a hatchery, notwithstanding, you should likewise watch out because some must be collaborating spaces where organizations share spaces and assets without getting explicit help for fostering their exercises. It is critical to check what administrations and supports the hatchery offers before choosing if it suits your requirements.
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