Global trends today show a heavy focus on promoting entrepreneurship. Established business organizations, academic institution and even governments are looking towards bringing young entrepreneurs in to the limelight. To accelerate this goal, organizations and governments setup separate business entities called Business Incubators.
What is a business incubator?
In simple terms, it is a business entity, which helps build other businesses. If you look in to what an incubator does, you will find out that they are organizations geared toward speeding up the growth and success of startups and early stage companies. They provide startups with office space, resources like computers, internet access and they provide them access to, mentors, industry experts, state governments, economic-development coalitions and other investors through their well-established business networks. Incubators can vary in the way they operate, while some exist in physical space, some can operate virtually as well.
Why do you need an incubator?
Business ideas need a lot of support until they reach fruition. While a lot of entrepreneurs have great ideas, they often fail to realize the full potential of their ideas because of a lack of funding, experience, guidance etc. That is where business incubators come in. They provide the right support at the right time and push your business startup to the very edge or realization and make it easy for you take the next step. Here is a short list of what incubators provide you:
- Funding: Spending a huge amount on building your startup may not sound very cool but receiving that money to spend on your startup sure does. That’s what incubators do, they provide you the seed money and they make it easier for you to get the amount you need to turn your idea in to a business.
- Exposure to Investors: Not only do incubators provide financing internally, they also provide you access to other business investors. While business investors may not know you or even heard of you, they do know the organization running the incubator. Investors trust them to do the early part of assessing the ideas and have no issues funding the startups associated with them.
- First Hand Experience: The thing is, no amount of education can give you what practical experience will. That is what incubators do for you. They make your business startup the best case study you will ever go through.
- Time is money: This is perhaps one of the most over used terms in business but that doesn’t make it any less true. Incubators help you come up with finances, resources, working environments within a short period of time which otherwise if you were to do on your own can take a while. The acceleration they provide startups saves a lot of time and eventually money.
- Networking: As a professional of any kind, networking is key. While you work on your startup on your own, networking is always a hit or miss situation. With incubators however, they can always tap in to the extensive business network of their parent organizations and provide your startup with access to the right people.
- Mentoring: Linking to the networking part, incubators are also a great source of mentorship. They have access to the who’s who of many business industries and business leaders, who they can expose you to as and when required.
- Fun Factor: Building and selling a real product, the first one ever that came out of your head, that brings a lot of excitement. It’s fun to read various stories about your startup on the web or newspapers, to close your first round of financing, to learn from the best, people that otherwise you may only have wished to work with. But best of all, the most exciting part is getting that first customer to buy your product.
Pakistan is also well on its way on the incubation scene. There are quite a few private and government owned incubators that are currently running in the country and have given birth to several companies like Markhor, Patari, Groopic to name a few. So if you think you have the next big idea, look for an incubator that you can pitch your idea to and maybe in some time, you too can be the next CEO of a small business.