What can an incubator do for your business?

When joining a business incubator, it’s important that the partnership is a good fit for both the company and the incubator. Entrepreneurs want to receive high-quality support, while incubators want to find startups that have significant growth and impact potential. Signing up for an incubator is not the only way to grow your company, but we (obviously!) think it’s a good one. Let’s take a closer look…

It can be daunting to take an idea that you’ve come up with and share it with the world. Doing so opens your plans up to feedback, criticism, and judgment. It may expose weaknesses in your concepts or raise questions you hadn’t considered yet. However, it’s essential for entrepreneurs who want to improve, innovate, and ultimately succeed.

Incubators exist in order to support startups and help them achieve their goals. They can offer funding, industry contact networks, and invaluable resources. However, they will also challenge you, question your ideas, and give you constructive feedback. This is a good thing.

Building a company is extremely rewarding but it’s also a lot of hard work, and you’ll be glad you tackled any potential problem areas as early as you could. The people working in incubators have specific areas of expertise and they’ve worked with plenty of startups before. They are great at recognising what you’re doing well and helping you to build on that. They’ll also identify potential pitfalls in your company and help you to avoid or solve them.

Are you almost ready to take the plunge? To help you decide, here are five positive things that an incubator can do for your business:

1. Gives you access to information

Incubators are hives of valuable information. The teams employed there are made up of experts who have worked with many startups before. They’re also really well connected to investors, retailers, and other organisations in the space.

What’s more, the environment in an incubator is one of creativity and innovation. Entrepreneurs are keen to bounce ideas off of one another. If you’re facing a challenge, it’s likely that someone else is facing something similar, or has already solved it! By joining an Incubator, you’re joining a collaborative community that is difficult to replicate elsewhere.

Investor panel at the ProVeg Incubator Startup Demo Day

2. Introduces you to the right people

Networking is absolutely essential. While incubators provide startups with in-house services, they also offer expertise and coaching from outside sources too. These networks can help to break down the barriers of technology, retail markets, and financing.

You’ll meet people who you need to know and who will introduce you to other key contacts. If you’ve ever tried cold-calling or emailing, you’ll know that getting a personal introduction to an investor, retailer, or business mentor makes things a whole lot easier.

3. Opens up funding options

Finding funding can be one of the biggest challenges for a startup and is a pressing priority. Incubators can save you time and money by connecting you with suitable investors. What’s more, many incubators actually invest in startups themselves.

The ProVeg Incubator, for example, works with many investors, and when you are ready, we’ll introduce you to the right people. We also include funding as part of our programme.

Startups that join the ProVeg Incubator could receive up to €250,000 in funding (incl. €50,000 in-kind services). The investment terms are determined based on our evaluation framework and will be agreed upon before startups join the programme.

The Nu Company plant-based chocolate products from our first cohort of startups

4. Provides you with a unique testing ground

Validating an innovative idea is a crucial step for entrepreneurs in determining if an idea is actually viable and scalable as a business. Incubators monitor how startups plan to address market needs and give them feedback in order to improve. Proper validation outside of an incubator space can be more difficult to obtain.

There’s also less risk associated with testing out your product or service while on an incubator programme. It’s a great chance to iron out the kinks in your business before launching in the real world. If your product is a flop with consumers on the retail market, you might not always get a second chance, even if it’s only a minor tweak that is needed.

5. Accelerates your growth

While nothing is guaranteed, incubators are recognised as boosting the probability of startup success. In one study, the five-year survival rate of startups that participated in incubator programmes was estimated at an impressive 75-87%.

By joining an Incubator you’re also signing up for a programme that runs for a specific length of time. You’ll want to get the most out of it.

Three months of intensive networking opportunities, workshops, product development and testing, pitching, and coaching sessions will drive your company forward at an impressive pace. Not to mention, you’ll likely garner valuable media attention which can really propel your business into the spotlight.

Are you feeling inspired now?

If you’re feeling inspired by what you’ve read here today and feel that a startup incubator would be the right fit for your company, we have some good news! The ProVeg Incubator is currently accepting applications. If you have an innovative food product or brand, then we would love to hear from you. Just go to the application section of our website and fill in the online application form. Good luck!

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