You are ready to start your business. Your planning has been completed. Now, you want to take your start-up to the next step. Many entrepreneurs just go at it alone with no mentors and no help. While this works for a few, some start-ups need a little help to get up on their feet. This is where business incubators come in handy.
Business incubators are a good way to kick start your operations. There are about 1,200 nestled in several cities nationwide. Incubators are typically places where a number of start-ups can rent space and equipment for a low price. This is always ideal especially if you are bootstrapping your business.
In addition, you can get professional business advice and assistance. Some incubators have a different format, offering the professional advice online. Some even invest money into select start-ups.
Benefits of Using an Incubator
- Professional Advice: When you are a start-up in an incubator, you are offered valuable advice from business professionals. These professionals are experts in their fields and offer their expertise to these start-ups. Like anything worth working through, you don’t have to work through this alone.
- Funding: Some incubators will actually invest in the start-ups using their services. Not all incubators do this and the ones that do will only invest in certain companies. If your company is qualified, this is a great route to pursue.
- Low Cost Space: If an incubator has a facility, then they are offering the space to start-ups for little to no cost. This is a great way for entrepreneurs to save money and have the space needed to start operations.
- Equipment: In addition to the low-cost space rental, some incubators offer equipment to their start-ups. Depending on the incubator, start-ups can rent the equipment or are allowed to use it free of charge. This is just another way for a start-up to save funds.
Types of Incubators
There are many different types of incubators across the country. What they offer to start-ups varies and what types of start-ups can participate varies. Nitasha Tiku, author of Incubation Nation: Where Great Ideas Are Born, gives a brief description of 20 incubator initiatives.
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, BIG is a business incubator that focuses on biotechnology and biomedical devices. BIG explains, “Many start-up life science companies face significant hurdles due to the need for very expensive and sophisticated instrumentation and equipment. BIG enables its tenant companies to utilize under-market laboratory and office space and appropriate equipment without the initial capital outlay.” This is an important benefit for start-ups, especially those that need large amounts of capital for research and prototypes before anything hits the market.
Other benefits of start-ups working with BIG are:
- Affordable office/laboratory space
- Access to capital-intensive equipment
- Availability of skilled interns
- Grooming of potential employees
- Access to contract research capabilities
- Collaborative environment
- Business services and coaching
If you believe that your start-up qualifies to work with BIG, then you must submit an application. After the application has been submitted, you will be reviewed and interviewed.
BIG is just one incubator out of 1,200+ that are ready and willing to help early stage start-up businesses. It is your job to determine which incubator you qualify for and to complete the application requirements. If you are selected, take advantage of all the resources that are available to you.
Did your business start in an incubator? Tell us about your experience in the comments.