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Do incubators and accelerators really work?

As reported by The European Accelerator report, there are known to be over ¹590 start-up accelerators in the UK as they are to help achieve their goals and aims, it is a program to build up and make your business grow. However, do they really work?

When being in an accelerator, your business will be able to gain access to support and funding and this will benefit you by helping you grow and expand your opportunities. Also, if you have an accelerator listed on your company’s portfolio, this stands out to investors as these can be tough to get into so it’ll be evidence that you, as a business, are possibly more significant.

With the support of an accelerator and incubator programme, they can ² “offer an opportunity to work in a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, as well as the time to focus on developing their product without worrying about bills.”

One thing to also think about is location. It is important where the accelerator or incubator is located as your business will need to be near a relevant customer area who will be interested in your business. Also be surrounded by companies, businesses and networks that may be relevant such as Launch being surrounded by MediaCity, the heart of creativity and technology in the North West

As well as the mentorship, you can learn more about the networking your business can get within this. Businesses meet so many different people that could benefit their company as well as already be connected with numerous mentors and advisors and this can be the same for your business. Also, the environment revolving an incubator or accelerator can be encouraging alongside other businesses and the different people you are able to meet.

The resources and support that is available through these can help your business learn and grow. Even talking to other businesses can help your business learn more about what you can do to achieve your goals.

The key findings for an accelerator or incubator is ³ “find out what accelerator programmes are and how they work…learn about the common characteristics and different roles… understand why you might choose” the particular programme you want to go for, and “start to think about design in your own context using practical prompts and worksheets.”

When looking for an incubator or an accelerator, research for ones with benefits that will be important for your business. They should be able to offer office space or hot desking areas, resources, mentorship and more that will gain for your business.

Some will also offer workshops and discussion events that can be an advantage towards your business. Launch based in MediaCity can offer different kind of workshops and events to attend as some will take place at The Landing where Launch is based (For more events see below). Always attend free workshops and events that can offer something towards the business as you never know what you could be missing out on. Some offices will provide certain office services such as internet, administrative support and equipment.

The difference between incubators and accelerators are that ⁴“Most incubators offer a protected, nurturing environment… Many offer common services from back office to marketing, UX, etc.” However, “Accelerators are not protected or nurturing. They bring together entrepreneurs and mentors / advisors and leave it to the entrepreneurs to figure out how to best take advantage of that opportunity. There are no internal resources. No back office you can use. No internal marketing expert.

The negatives of an incubator or accelerator is that they are very competitive so getting into one may be difficult and some only except businesses within a specific sector. Some may also be out of your price range as the costs are for either access to hot desks or office space.

As well as there being a lot of events that people would advise you and your business to go to, they may not be useful for them and attending them may be wasting their time where they could be building their business instead.

Overall, Incubators and accelerators are beneficial for start up businesses that may need more support and the mentorship. A place that can offer this is Launch based in MediaCity and this will benefit IOT, health tech, VR and technology businesses. They help businesses reach their aims and goals and grow as a business, however beyond from the accelerator or incubator, start-ups need to know that ⁵“when you’re starting out it takes a long time and a lot of hard work before you make any money”, also, “you’ve got to find the right kind of investors” that will be suitable for your business. Lastly, “talk to lots and lots of people” as this is how you make connections and contacts.

 

¹Tech City

²Tina Neilson

³Nesta

Mark Macleod

Nesta