In 1980, the world boasted 12 business incubators, by 2015 incubators had ballooned to 1250 and counting. As the startup world has taken off, so has the need for business incubators to guide founders through the complicated process. Startup incubators provide guidance and shared resources that allow founders to graduate with business plans that are polished and professional.
Entrepreneurs can find a network of professionals with deep inroads in their industry, a wealth of hands on experience and practical advice in startup incubators. For founders getting their foot in the startup world, they typically lack credibility which an incubator provides with mentors and their extended network of contacts. An incubator provides credibility that can be beneficial while pitching to venture capital firms, similar in prestige as being an Ivy League grad. A startup’s brand includes its founder, incubator, mentors, and extended network who are able to assert its value and viability.
A penny saved is a penny earned
The expression ‘caring is sharing’ is true for incubators because traditionally high costs like operations, legal help and rent are split. By joining an incubator, some startups can decrease their launching and operating costs by as much as 50%. Having a marketing expert or lawyer on-hand 24/7 probably isn’t necessary for most startups, which makes using pooled professional resources even more practical and cost effective.
There’s a unique energy that reverberates across the walls in incubators, familiar only to participants and alumni. The camaraderie that develops sustains the late hours, sleepless nights, and bouts of stress crying. While a founder is going through the ringer of workshops and courses, they’re surrounded by people climbing the same mountain. Sharing an office space with other founders and participating in an incubator is round-the-clock access to a support network of people committed to each other’s success. There are no silly questions.
Early stage startups are wise to consider an incubator in an effort to increase credibility and traction with potential investors while sharing the burden of operating costs with other startups.