In recent year, we worked with multiple incubators in local towns and cities to understand and help the creation of a more dynamic innovation ecosystem that makes the community excel and provide to their citizens a better growth.
During that time we evaluate the impact on the local communities and if it is worth to persuade such ventures from local municipalities and counties.
The results are astonishing. The impact in the community can be seen in 5 year period where, if choosing the right strategy can make a big impact.
Defining what type of incubators to build
Deciding what incubator strategy is the first step to success. Incubators are built taking in mind the results that you want to obtain.
In the table below you can find the different types of incubators, helping you to decide what to choose based on three different items: gap to resolve, objective, and results.
The results are always based into the gap that wants to be resolved in the region.
- Employment creation requires a growth in the businesses running in the region.
- Support regional growth, when you have a good workforce in the cities and towns, but they mainly work in other regions with the objective to bring businesses closer to the people.
- To stimulate innovation from college graduates and students, the local communities should impulse the entrepreneurship ecosystem.
- Social gap in some regions needs to be addressed support social entrepreneurs to build non-profit startups to support and help the grow of marginal society.
- Loonshots are difficult and takes time, but building in this can create a new industry in the region that can make a hotspot in the country.
The incubators value proposition is to support the entrepreneurs in three main areas:
- Supporting: incubators support local businesses helping them to avoid competition and other regions threads with agreements between cities, towns, and/or counties.
- Connecting: incubators connect businesses with other businesses and communities that needs their support.
- Educating: bring mentoring, workshops, meetup and education programs in one place so they can grow faster.
Incubators offer a range of services, with the most commons to be, co-working, education programs, pool of mentors and access to deals and offers to launch the business.
Factors that help incubators succeed
Multiple areas can help to an incubators to succeed or fail though they can be understood in the planning process to improve the rate of success.
Areas to consider:
- A clear understanding of service offered in multiple topics depending of the nature of the businesses created.
- Staff with a good background to offer and support services to businesses in the community.
- Mentor network with different areas served with interest from the businesses.
- Cost and fees for the services offered to be reasonable in the region.
- Funding for government and agencies to support growth.
Tools that support your businesses
There are many reasons that we see many, if not most, of incubators are supported by simply tools that are low-cost and free to reduce costs. The experience shows that having a low profile set of tools could produce a high churn of business engagement and support the grow.
In current studies showed that tools are key to having a successful incubator. Some of these tools are:
- Video conferencing like Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft Teams
- Web site with updated design and information align with the offerings, and pictures or common areas of use.
- Tools to manage the community, members, mentoring, and bring most of the services available in one place. The best example here is Team Coaches that offers this and more solutions.