Incubators and accelerators are a great help when it comes to kick-off or boost your startup. But how to choose the best option for your business?
In this blog post we talk about 3 features that you should consider when choosing a startup incubator or accelerator. If this is a topic that interests you, read on!
Incubator vs. Accelerator
Before diving into the 3 main aspects you should be aware of, it's a good idea to distinguish between an accelerator and an incubator. For those in this area, the difference can be obvious. But for outsiders, it may seem like the same thing, since both are organizations - public or private - that help entrepreneurs to succeed in the market, through mentoring, knowledge, networking, among others. Although they have a lot in common, they are not the same and these are the main different aspects:
What will it be: Accelerator or Incubator?
Now that you know the main similarities and differences between an incubator and an accelerator, you should find the core steps to choose the best option to drive your business growth journey. Our TOP 3 questions below should help:
#1. How rapidly do you want to see results?
Here we talk about purpose and duration. First, your purpose must be aligned with that of the accelerator or incubator. If your intention is to bring a new idea to the market, you might be a better fit in an incubator. The incubator will support your innovation on an open schedule, as it focuses on a startup's longevity. If, on the other hand, you already have a business idea in place but need an extra hand, perhaps an accelerator will be able to meet your needs. It will be more concerned about the speed of your growth. It all depends on your stage and your goal.
#2. What kind of structure do you need?
This idea is in line with the previous one. In addition to thinking about your goal and your stage of development, you should take into account that an accelerator and an incubator will have different structures. So, you want to choose the one that fits you best. Accelerators usually set schedules for their participants, as their programs have a set period. Incubators, on the other hand, often act as co-working spaces where founders can come and go as they please. You can also be in an incubator and participate in an accelerator's program, as these entities often collaborate with each other. Think of an incubator as a startup's "preparation" to enter an accelerator.
#3. What is your area of expertise?
Many incubators and accelerators are generalist, but others are focused on a specific industry or market niche. This can be an advantage, as specialized programs are able to better connect entrepreneurs with clients and mentors in a specific sector. Also, many accelerators and incubators partner with corporate entities, which is valuable for a startup, as it will be able to connect with large companies within its area. BGI, as an accelerator, focuses on deep-tech, although it encompasses several sectors, such as digital, food, agriculture, climate, mobility, among others.
In short: what works best for you?
Choosing an incubator or accelerator is like choosing a college to apply to: there are several options out there; most of them offer industry-specific programs; and some are harder to get into than others. It all depends on your goal and your needs. That can be exactly the hard part: choosing what you want. But in any of the options, you will certainly have access to a broad network of investors, partners and clients; you will increase your knowledge and skills; and your business will grow.
If you are thinking of entering an accelerator, don't hesitate to talk to us. You will find a team ready to advise you and present our best options for your business.