Feb 24 • Flavia Popescu-Richardson

The role of accelerators and incubators for startups

 For any startup businesses in their earliest phases, finding accelerators and/or incubators can be a game-changer. These can amplify your startup and give it the resources, confidence, and opportunities that it needs to grow. However, a startup incubator and a startup accelerator are two different things. Though they might share some similarities, they are by no means identical. So, what are the two primary differing factors that come into account when looking at incubators and startups? What should you be focusing on when you want to benefit from either of these assistants? 

What can an accelerator offer your startup? 

Accelerators are designed with a clear and specific timeframe in mind. These accelerators could spend a few weeks, or even a few months, working with your business through a mentorship program. They help you to quickly put in place strong foundations for your business. They also help you to understand and pinpoint the kind of problems that you might run into along the way.
An accelerator will give you a small seed investment, as well as access to mentorship programs. The ‘price’ is typically going to be equity within your startup. You will, though, be getting expert advice from those within your industry so you can trust that you will start seeing some big improvements in performance quickly.
The aim is that once the weeks/months have passed your business will be in a better position to thrive. It should be better developed, more improved in every facet, and more suited to getting client and investor interest. The aim of an accelerator will look to build up your business in a few months, making the kind of improvements that would have taken you years to achieve on your own.
As the name implies, the expertise and insight offered provides an accelerator to your business growth. 

What can an incubator offer your startup? 

Incubators are used for startups which are much earlier on in the process than an accelerator. Incubators are typically operated by everyone from angel investors to government bodies. An incubator will look to try and offer support on improving the very foundations of a startup. Then, once the doors are opened officially, it has the best chance of making a running start to life as a business.
The incubator then looks to adjust the business and improve on everything it can. This can be things as diverse as, say, refining the idea of the business to even changing its entire geographic point of focus. It will build out a clear business plan, evaluate the competition, understand any potential legal issues, and then start to develop a network of interested co-operators.
Incubators basically make sure that a startup is the perfect fit for the market at that current point in time. If that can be shown and proven, then it has a much bigger chance of being used and developed accordingly. Incubators make it easier for a start up plan to be taken, perfected, improved, and refined so that it has the best audience take-up possible.
So, what is right for your startup? The answer comes down to where you are. If you are in the process of starting up from the very beginning, an incubator can make your launch a home run. If you pair up with an accelerator, though, your business that has not gotten off to a fast start can be improved in a short space of time.  


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