Incubators warm you up until it’s time to hatch.
They are similar to coworking spaces, but incubators often focus on entrepreneurial education. This developmental focus attracts newer entrepreneurs and has incubators most often found in educational environments, with semester or year-long programs. Incubators can also be found outside educational environments. Public incubators may have less rigidity, but there’s still urgency that most entrepreneurs benefit from. The timelines of an incubator are not as compressed as accelerators, but there is usually a beginning and an end to these programs.
This rotational nature of incubators provide a cyclical, yet stabilizing effect within startup communities. Entrepreneurs working through incubator programs become stronger founders eager to stay connected. As founders transition out of an incubator, they add human, intellectual, network, and cultural capital to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their departure also makes room for the next class of entrepreneurs eager to develop a business within the incubator.
Wondering how your business should evolve? Work around other entrepreneurs.
Another common draw of an incubator, is less expensive office space. Low rent alone attracts early tenants, but here lies the motive for many unhealthy incubators. If an incubator is only about cheap office space, the lack of heart will suck the cool right out. A fixation on cheap rent leads to less interest in helping entrepreneurs. This leaves floundering tenants starving for community. As cultural starvation occurs, entrepreneurs migrate and programs fail.
Incubators must be safe cocoons for less experienced entrepreneurs. They should allow entrepreneurs to repeatedly test, fail, and improve alongside their peers. With a supportive space dedicated to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit, incubators allow connected entrepreneurs to hatch fresh ideas ready to fly.