Have a great idea for a business but no idea where to begin? Fret not, because local resources for start-ups are abundant. Business schools, incubators, accelerator programs, and small business development centers are just some of the ways entrepreneurs can hone their concepts and start taking steps necessary to jumpstart their companies.
While attending business school seems like one of the most conventional ways to start a business and may not be an option for some entrepreneurs, the resources business schools offer have helped launch many successful startups. Read this article about how business school led Nitzan Yudan away from banking and helped launch his business.
But who says you have to be enrolled in a business program to reap the rewards business schools offer? The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), for example, is located on two of Georgia Tech’s campuses. ATDC is a startup accelerator that helps technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies by using the university’s resources and connections.
Incubators and Accelerator Programs
These programs come in all shapes, sizes, and specializations and are highly successful at taking budding business concepts and turning them into successful companies. There are firms all over with different focuses on research, mentorship and counseling, some with certain areas of expertise (like ATDC). Incubators are specific to startups and will help with financing, marketing, networking, business development and more. A simple Internet search can help you find a program to meet your needs.
Chicago-based Excelerate Labs selects ten startup companies every spring to attend a 13-week summer program where business owners network and grow their businesses before a culminating presentation to hundreds of investors and mentors at the end of the program. Sharon Schneider, CEO of Moxie Jean and panelist at Access to Capital: Money to Mainstreet in Chicago, is just one of Excelerate’s many success stories.
Small Business Development Centers
These are government-funded programs located all over the country, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. They are one of the nation’s largest small business assistance programs, and provide counseling and business assistance to companies at any stage of development through professional business advisors. Small Business Development Centers serve all minority populations as well as women, veterans, youth, low-income individuals, and more.