My thanks to Nick Biggs for this piece. The journey of converting an idea into a successful business, is one plagued with risks and uncertainties. Everyday, the entrepreneur has to make decisions relating to the product or service itself, the business model, human resources and decide on the right time is to scale the business. In addition to that, he not only has to keep track of his numbers but has the huge responsibility of keeping those numbers up, as investors will only put invest in companies with huge growth potential. This is where incubators and accelerators come in.
Business incubators are to startups what those little incubators in the hospitals are to pre-term babies. They help give form and structure to the entrepreneur’s ideas and like a mother nursing her baby, they exist to help the entrepreneur in those early years until he is able to set out on his own. With over 7000 incubation programs worldwide, incubators are gaining more prominence as the years role by.
One may then be left to ask the question; “If these programs are so successful, why then do we have accelerators?” Accelerators also follow a similar model but with a few differentiating characteristics.