27 Jul Business incubator or business accelerator, which do you choose ?
Several offers exist to help entrepreneurs with their projects and activities. In the entrepreneurial eco-system, we talk a lot about accelerators and incubators but what are they offering? What is the difference?
It is necessary to compare, ask questions and delve into the types of offer which can best fit your needs.
In the EARLY STAGE of a project
Incubators are generally presented as platforms helping entrepreneurs to start their businesses. They propose a range of solutions that allow one to test a business concept under real-world conditions within a given period of time.
Then, while the company is still un-registered, the incubator may offer the ability to market to prospects, sell to and invoice customers all within the legal, fiscal and social framework of the incubator. To benefit from these services, it will cost you at most a small percentage of your turnover. Some of them only offer a co-working space with a reception area. This allows you to have prospects or customers visit you while benefitting from an ecosystem supporting the interaction and the synergies between the entrepreneurs
Other incubators provide support and office space for young entrepreneurs. They provide technical and financial support, advice and services to optimize the success of the project. They mainly provide premises for a limited period, so you can benefit from a reception service, a secretariat, a telephone switchboard, an internet connection or meeting rooms. The rates applied are lower than those on the market to help you set up and develop your business.
Some other incubators offer adapted accommodation, equipment, advice and services also bring you the expertise of their partners (public, private, institutional or economic).
Admissions are made by completing an application form and you will have the choice between a specialized incubator, which will immerse you 100% in an ecosystem or a more generalist incubator that will allow you to broaden your vision and eventually build your business.
In a MATURE STAGE of project
If the company is at a more mature stage of its business, there are other support solutions: accelerators.
The Business Accelerator is a program that provides access to mentoring, investor and entrepreneur relationships, access to logistical and technical resources, and shared office space. The duration of the acceleration programme may be between two and six months, with the aim of making enterprises independent by boosting their development and growth.
You will need to match with specific criteria to be admissible. Some of them are specialized in a field (tech, fintech, food etc…) and some other are more general.
There are other alternatives for entrepreneurs that offer solutions with support services. For example, there are networks guiding members to create businesses with the help of volunteer business leaders. This kind of network supports entrepreneurs with job creation potential to help them develop themselves and operates on the principle of free access.
In England there is also a network offering entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 various services such as access to marketing, finance, banking, consulting, coaching and training professionals as well as providing assistance with, business development and recruitment.
Moreover, boutique consulting firms are also proposing and accompanying entrepreneurs throughout their development. They have the advantage of proximity to their customers as well as attractive prices to help them at every stage of their development.
To conclude, estimate what you really need; workstations, a manufacturing facility, meeting rooms, expertise, support, investment etc. and stay vigilant. Do not hesitate to visit the premises beforehand, to find out about the startups already present as well as the terms of the contract with the incubator. Research their partners, both public and private, whom you can contact as well as their relationships with other incubators and accelerators. Consult the different support programmes and the associated prices before making a choice.
Léa Grillot & Camille Pellicioli