If you have ever started a business, you know that being an entrepreneur is EXTREMELY difficult for countless reasons. Our job is to find any and all resources that can make this process easier. An old concept that has found new momentum is enabling entrepreneurs to increase their odds of success. This trend is participating in incubators or seed accelerators. What is a business incubator? As each one offers different features and serves different purposes, an incubator is a program that provides small businesses with mentoring, office/technological resources at reduced prices as well as networking benefits. The reason that I think it’s important to introduce the concept of an incubator is because statistics show that businesses that go through incubators have a drastically higher success rate than their counterparts.
Seed accelerators are a little different. For the most part, seed accelerators are early stage investment programs that provide small businesses with heavy mentoring, guidance and resources in the hope of producing a viable product/service in a condensed period of time. Think of it as a business bootcamp that will either kill you, or build you into a strong, lean and profitable business. The more popular examples of these include Y-Combinator & TechStars.
I am a huge fan of Y-Combinator and TechStars because of the amazing companies that they spit out. Both programs have remarkable mentors and professionals and have resulted in tech companies that do some amazing things. These programs have been operating for under 5 years, but they graduate so many companies because they offer a spring class and a fall class, each program lasting 3 to 4 months. Typically, they take a small equity portion (normally around 6%), and provide you with all the tools you need to succeed. Most good programs will already be well connected with angel investors, as well as venture capitalists.
If you have recently started a business, or just have a business idea, you should definitely look into services of your local (closest) incubator. Furthermore, if you think a seed accelerator is better for you, look into the one that meets the needs of your business. You would be doing a disservice by not looking at all your options. The statistics don’t lie. There are almost no downfalls to participating in an incubator or seed accelerator. Basically what I am saying is, check them out. It may be the factor that can help you reach your dreams of success. You can find the incubator closest to you by contacting your local chamber of commerce or simply searching on the internet.