Unlike popular opinion, Startup incubation isn’t a new concept. 1959, was the year the first startup incubator, Batavia Industrial Center, incubated businesses after the Batavia flash flood.
These incubations go a long way in helping these founders find their feet, learn the ropes and grasp concepts involved in their startup.
Recently, a lot of startups have emerged with each having a problem it’s set to solve or a service it wants to provide. However, despite the noble intentions of these startups, they end up packing home.
That prompts the question, What went wrong?
Most of these startup founders have a fantastic idea of what they want to do be it a solution or service but they lack the marketability skill, network, and other necessary skills needed to scale their startup.
This is where startup incubators come in, they provide these startups with every available support necessary to scale that idea into a profit-yielding venture.
Startup incubators are entities or organizations that take startups through a business nurturing process till the business can stand on its own.
The organization could either be government or non-governmental organizations. The major aim of a startup incubator is to ensure that any startup it takes in succeeds.
Also read, The Benefits of Accelerator Program for Startups
Usually, a startup incubator makes a call for applications for startups to come to pitch their ideas. From the pitch session, startups that meet their criteria are taken into the incubation program.
There are various incubation programs and they stretch across various industries, food, tech, health among others. The duration of the startup incubation program varies.
There are a lot of ways startup incubators can help a startup grow, some of which includes;
Idea Validation and Re-Vamp
An idea no matter how fantastic without a market value will fail. Startup incubators help startups discern their market value through market research.
If the idea won’t work as initially thought, it is re-vamped according to reports from market research.
The process continues until a market angle is found, then a prototype will be developed that will guide the startup.
Startups need office spaces where they can work from. Most times, the startup founders are unable to secure one for themselves.
However, as part of a startup incubation, they get to share the workspace with other entrepreneurs and startup founders, reducing costs for everyone involved.
Apart from cost, these startup founders can bounce off ideas on each other and in the process build strong business relationships.
This is another very important support given to startups by startup incubators. They assign mentors who are renowned businessmen to the startups in their program.
The startup founders work closely with their assigned mentors, getting insights about running a business, noting what step to take and when to take that step in a business setting.
The mentor in turn commits time, network, opportunities, and many more to their assigned startup.
Without funds, everyone can as well pack home and rest. Every startup needs money.
These incubators outsource avenues through which the startups in their program can be funded.
There are demo days in some cases, where investors are invited and the startup founders pitch their businesses.
The investors then select a startup they want to fund.
Other times, an incubator can give out funds to startups that performed excellently well in their incubation program.
Also, startups can access grants and loans opportunities through their startup incubator.
In a startup incubator, startup founders are walked through the legal part of their startups. They are taught regulatory compliance and the resultant effect of non-compliance.
Startup founders are also taught how to properly protect their startups under the law as well as how to protect their intellectual property. Advisory boards are set up in some cases for these startups.
Ranging from soft skill training to financial management, presentation skill, business etiquette to mention a few are being taught by the startup incubators.
These are some of the things startup incubators can do to help a startup grow.
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