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Here is a quick guide to navigating these increasingly popular concepts. According to the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA), an incubator is "a business support process that accelerates the successful development of startup and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of targeted resources and services.These services are usually developed or orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the business incubator and through its network of contacts." In short, these programs exist to help improve the odds of success for startups.
They come to us for advice, and they are common stock holders like we areso our intentions are completely aligned with the founders'." In addition to making an investment in the company, accelerators also differ from incubators in the time companies spend in the program.
Accelerator programs are designed to be concise and generally take three to four months to complete. Like incubators, accelerators exist for all different industries and interests. Despite their differences, incubators and accelerators can both help businesses tremendously.
"We are here and will help them as investors, generally around key events of the company funding events and major business developments," said Axelrod.
"We still talk to companies from two years ago all the time.
Directly approach venture capital firms, which often farm out portfolio companies to incubators.
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These groups are good sources of referrals to entrepreneurs seeking to start businesses, who need the assistance an incubator can provide.Economic development organizations sponsor 31 percent of business incubators, government entities fund 21 percent and academic institutions sponsor 20 percent, according to the NBIA.Market your incubator at networking events, angel group meetings, civic group and chamber of commerce meetings, colleges and universities.Research the benefits of creating a virtual versus a physical facility.With online meeting and collaboration capabilities, it is easy to operate a virtual incubator, with only occasional face-to-face meetings and required reporting.[Incubators Heat Up Chances of Small Business Survival] "One of the ways to think about incubation and entrepreneurship is that they help increase entrepreneurial success, opportunity and are able to strengthen communities," said Micah Kotch, director of innovation and entrepreneurship at Polytechnic Institute of New York University, which runs the Varick St., NYC ACRE and DUMBO incubators.Those programs improve the odds of success by offering things like office space, professional services and business advice.The general public may not yet know the difference between business incubators and accelerators, which have both become vital resources for startups.Despite often getting lumped together, the two concepts have several important factors that differentiate them.Incubators do not generally have a strict focus on the amount of time a business will spend in the program.For example, companies at the NYU Poly incubators generally spend 18 months in the program, but other incubators may have a longer time frame.