BBVA API Market
You’ve surely heard about the so-called incubators and/or business accelerators, but do you really know how they can help professionals and startups to become successful?
First, it is very important to distinguish between both concepts, as each one has its nuances; however, depending on the phase in which is a business or entrepreneurial project, their activities may overlap. On one hand, business incubators are defined as institutions (public or private) aiming to ensure the success of entrepreneurial projects through a wide range of resources, which usually include the rental of physical spaces, telecommunications, coaching services, networking and something very important: access to financing. These organizations are sponsored and supported by private companies, government agencies or universities.
Meanwhile, business accelerators were born to enhance those businesses that usually have been operating less than two years, offer innovative products or services, have certain growth rates and stand out for their leadership. These types of companies are offered a range of services to help them boost their growth, so that they can consolidate their business and create more jobs. To access the activities offered by accelerators entrepreneurs must have a solid business plan and certain technical, financial and market viability.
As you can see, there are two consulting alternatives that may help you “incubate” or “speed up” your company, based on your business needs. However, today we are going to focus only on incubators, as they specialize in the promotion of entrepreneurial projects since their very beginning.
When it comes to starting a business, most entrepreneurs face the same doubts and uncertainties, especially when they have to turn that great idea into a profitable venture. Fortunately, incubators are popular and are emerging in many cities in Spain and Europe in general, the United States and Latin America, where they are experiencing a remarkable growth.
But before you start to “incubate” your project, you should know that these organizations are usually specialized and operate within a particular sector, such as technology, digital entertainment or Big Data, among many others. For this reason, it is important to be clear about the type of services needed by your project and what are the benefits and goals you want to achieve. This is why you need to define your proposal very well, as this will help you to clarify the aspects you want to reinforce and it will also help you to evaluate the incubator that best meets your needs. It is therefore very important to know very well the offer available and the services and costs involved.
You should also be aware that incubators are sponsored or promoted by public or private entities:
– Incubators from private companies are those that have been founded by successful businessmen and business angels. DAD, led by Rodolfo Carpintier, is one of them. It provides an initial capital investment, besides guiding entrepreneurs in management aspects, the successive stages of financing and the acquisition of the first customers.
– Incubators from public institutions are those promoted by universities and different administrations. Such is the case of Valencia’s CEEI, backed up by IMPIVA, ICO and CDT, among other public bodies.
It should also be noted that some organizations offer the activities of incubators and accelerators in a single project, providing entrepreneurs the opportunity to move easily from one stage to another. This is what platforms like Bihoop and Cloud Incubator HUB do.
In Spain one of the most important private incubators is Intercom Group, which since its creation in May 1995 has launched more than 50 projects. Among them there are some that you may probably know. For example, in 1997, Intercom launched Softonic.com, released originally as Shareware Intercom, a software download website. In 1998, thanks to this company, InfoJobs.net was born, due to the market’s need to recruit qualified personnel in new technologies. In 2004 Intercom started the international expansion of Softonic and InfoJobs.
As you can see, incubators can become great drivers for your business, although you have to bear in mind that one of the main drawbacks is that it can be quite difficult to be eligible to participate. The same as it happens with business angels, incubators evaluate thoroughly the projects in which they invest. However, if you are in the early stages of building your business you should definitely find out if there is any incubator that may be interested in developing your business.
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