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What is a Business Incubator?

Jun 10, 2021

people discussing a startup in a business incubator program at tackboard

No matter how big or small your business ideas are, there are some key ingredients for longevity. Successful businesses need access to tools and resources to grow and thrive. But having the necessary elements can be difficult for a startup company. That’s where business incubators play a crucial role. 

What is a Business Incubator?

The Business Encyclopedia defines incubator programs as places designed to grow young businesses by offering them various financial support, technical services, and business support needed to bring ideas to fruition. 

The entrepreneurial services could include capital, mentoring, networking connections, and real estate. A tech startup, for example, may partner with a business incubator for a set period to receive education, mentorship, and financing (seed money or business loans) as part of a cohort of other startups to accelerate their growth. 

According to the National Business Incubation Association, business incubators are common in North America and worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and South Africa. But not all business incubators are created equal nor guarantee actual economic development and success. It matters which type of business incubators you partner with and the benefits they provide. 

Types of Business Incubators

You can narrow down the options into three distinct categories when it comes to accelerators and incubators. The one right for you will depend on the type of business and benefits.

Academic Institutions

Colleges and universities are where business incubators got their start. It’s now common for a business school to branch out into incubators to help entrepreneurs and students to launch their ideas. You can get a master’s in international business while starting a company. 

University-incubated businesses provide nurturing and seed money to accelerate entrepreneurship and help with job prospects after graduation. The best part is that you don’t have to choose between earning a degree and starting a business.

Industry-specific Incubators

This type of incubator is just like it sounds— a supportive place focused on a particular kind of business—for example, an incubator intent on producing the next Silicon Valley startup in deep learning or robotics. 

That being said, don’t just think incubators focus on startup business connected to tech; there’s a business incubator for almost any kind of company. ShiftPixy offers an incubator for ghost kitchens and chefs. In these business incubators, you’re surrounded by like-minded folks with similar dreams and aspirations.

Non-Industry-specific Incubators

Yeah, you guessed it. On the other side of the spectrum are business incubators that are non-industry-specific. These kinds of incubators may have a mish-mash of different industries altogether, but what sets them apart is the emphasis on the benefits they provide for the fledgling business. 

Benefits of a Business Incubator

Now, we are getting to the juicy parts— the benefits. Business incubation programs have different services, depending on the program, but it’s clear they make a world of difference for new businesses. 

Build Connections

The incubator provides business developers a chance to expand professional networks and build connections. When you start your business, you may not have these relationships. Business incubation offers unparalleled access to knowledgeable people and organizations that can help you succeed. 

The old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” is the motto of a business incubator. 

Connect with Mentors

A startup incubator, for example, not only helps you build long-lasting critical connections but also offers mentorship. This kind of human resource can’t be understated in its incredible value. Having daily contact with an expert whose sole reason for being there is to help you reach your goals is unsurpassed. Business incubators are the place to connect, grow, and collaborate. 

Increase Knowledge

Even the best business plans need more market research, business financing, or further tweaking. Business incubators can offer an educational program in the way of classes or challenges. Or provide skill development information and training to move your business in the right direction. 

Share Low-Cost Physical Space

Real estate or office space for any startup or restaurant can get a little pricey. Business incubators help you save on costs by pooling resources together in a shared area. So, besides the benefit of building connections and continuous education, you’re saving some of the green stuff. 

Access to Financing 

Most business incubators don’t take a stake in your company when you join their community. But instead, offer access to venture capital and different commercial banking financing options. You may even meet an angel investor, ready to prove their worth with some seed money. 

While you may be able to receive financing for your business venture outside of a business incubator, being in one offers even more financial benefit. 

How to Choose a Business Incubator Program?

Choosing a business incubator depends on what you’re looking for in the way of mentorship, time, and location. Most incubators have an application process and don’t accept all applicants. When choosing an incubator, business owners should look at the following: 

  • incubator location
  • treatment of intellectual property
  • incubator cost
  • educational program
  • time commitment 

The best benefits for your business depend on you but remember not all incubators are created equal. This is why the ShiftPixy Labs incubator program may be the right choice. 

ShiftPixy Labs Incubator Program

ShiftPixy Labs offers an innovative kitchen incubator for ghost kitchens and other industries to thrive. Restaurant operators and entrepreneurs from all walks of life and experience can apply to the Ghost Kitchen Incubator program. 

If you make the cut, the fun really begins. Through a combination of food and business-orientated challenges, the participants graduate from the program. 

Past success stories have shown that the ShiftPixy Labs Ghost Kitchen Incubator program is transformative. It helps connect restaurateurs with experts, sophisticated technology, and mentorship in the ever-changing restaurant industry landscape. 

The admission process is simple. Download the ShiftPixy app to apply and take the first step to start your business. Our management team is always on the hunt for the next restaurant superstar. Our commercial kitchen is your playground. 

Now that you know what a business incubator is, what’s stopping you? Business incubators only want your success. Who can really say that?