Part 1: Business Incubators vs. Business Accelerators? Which one is best for you?


Business Incubators and Business Accelerators are typically associated with Silicon Valley and the multitude of start-ups that are house in this California tech-world.  In this two part series, we want to share with you all our thoughts on these two business development methods that many small business owners choose to look to for many business services including but not limited to: funding, legal, computer services, R&D, and much more.

Incubator vs. Accelerator. This conundrum is one that many entrepreneurs face fretfully as due to their similarities, it could be difficult to discern the differences and values of the two. To help provide some insight and help entrepreneurs make informed decisions, The Culture Bazaar Group has put together some tips and resources to help globally-focused entrepreneurs make the correct decision for their business.

Business Incubator

Let’s take it back to the basics, starting with the meaning of the root word. According to the Merriam-Webster English dictionary to incubate is to do the following:

  1. (a) to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body;(b) to maintain (as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction
  2. to cause or aid the development of (incubatean idea)

Breaking down the root of the word and the definition helps to point out the key nuance between the two program types, time and space. Business incubators cater to businesses in the hatchling stage and provide services in a particular space filled with the necessities for growth for an extended period of time. More vividly, an incubator is to a startup what a mothering chicken would be to an egg.

Now that we’ve established the basics, take a look below for three key facts on this program type, followed by a list of some programs for those ready to get to work.

Business Incubators

  1. What is it? Business Incubators are programs designed to aid companies in the very early stages of their development. As noted above, business incubators are designed to aid entrepreneurs in the hatchling stage of development. Typically private companies or municipal entities and public institutions, such as colleges, universities, governments, and economic development corporations sponsor incubation programs.
  2. What services can I expect as part of the program? Incubators serve as on demand resource providers in which individuals receive access to key services such as affordable office space, hand on managementtrainingmarketing support and, often, access to some form of financing as well as legal and accounting resources.
  3. How long would I participate in the program? Incubation programs typically span for longer periods of time, around two years, or however long individuals need to take their businesses to the next level. Individuals can apply at any given time on a rolling basis and get accepted to take part in the program.

The Incubator Guide

For the Tastemaker 

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  1. The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator

From the Site: Six designers have been chosen to begin their twelve-month residency as Designers-in-Residence (DIR) at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City. Their curriculum includes business workshops with industry leaders which helps them in building their brands, sustaining their businesses, along with providing resources to assist them in breaking into the fashion marketplace.

  1. NYC Fashion Incubator

From the Site: The incubator, which will be operated by the CFDA, will offer low-cost design studio space for up to twelve designers. A partnership lead by Newmark Knight Frank’s Chairman Jeff Gural and Executive Managing Director Eric Gural will build out the approximately 10,000-square-foot space at 209 West 38th Street and lease units to incubator tenants at below-market rates, starting at $1,500 per month. The CFDA will also provide educational support and access to the essential resources key to nurturing the next great American designers.

  1. Macy’s Fashion Incubator Chicago

From the Site: This one-year incubator will provide six designers with access to a dedicated work and office space, a mentor, a solid curriculum which includes seminars and workshops on topics such as product development, marketing, sales and many other vital areas that are needed to sustain a business. At the end of the year, designers will not only graduate form the program with a stronger collection, but will also walk away with the tools to grow their fashion company.

For the Artist

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  1. The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3)

From the Site: The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) is metropolitan Detroit’s creative industries advocacy organization.  It provides the leadership, resources, exposure, data and analytics necessary to elevate the economic output and social impact of Detroit’s creative economy. Its vision is to grow creative sector jobs in the Detroit region and to establish Detroit as a recognized global center for design, creativity and innovation. Industries of focus include Architecture, Communications/Advertising/Creative, Film/Video/Entertainment Arts Design, Fashion and Accessories Design, Graphic/3D/Illustration Design, Industrial Design, Interactive/UI-UX Design, Interior Design, Landscape Design, and Transportation Design

  1. Pratt Design Incubator

From the Site: The Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation supports the entrepreneurial talents of designers, artists, and architects — including several Pratt alumni — by providing them with resources to launch businesses. The Incubator is part of Pratt Institute’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies and Research, which is led by Incubator Founder and Director Deb Johnson. The Incubator supports its companies with custom-tailored services for sustainable business endeavors. Incubator companies have access to a flexible curriculum in sustainable entrepreneurship mentor-based coaching and work among a thriving community of socially responsible entrepreneurs. Since its 2002 inception, the Incubator has supported the launch of over 30 companies, has created over 50 new jobs, and has consulted for 15 organizations.

  1. New Lab

From the Site: New Lab is a multidisciplinary design & technology center in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Designers, engineers and entrepreneurs solving problems in an 84,000 sq. ft. facility that was once the epicenter of the American shipbuilding industry.

For the Connoisseur

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  1. Entrepreneur Space

The incubator provides a commercial kitchen for rent and free or low cost business counseling to entrepreneurs using the analogy of a business as a tree, with the incubator aiming to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses (trees), from the roots, to the trunk, to the leaves.

  1. Mi Kitchen es Su Kitchen

Mi Kitchen es Su Kitchen is a kitchen incubator located in Long Island City, Queens catering to small- to medium-size food manufacturers including caterers, bakers, and teachers of hands-on cooking classes.

  1. Trellis Napa Valley

Trellis Napa Valley is a food, wine, and technology incubator located in Napa Valley.

For the Social Entrepreneur

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  1. Beespace

From the Site: Founded in 2013, Beespace is an incubator that identifies and launches the next generation of nonprofits. At Beespace, we marry the strongest elements of tech incubators — especially their customer-first approach to designing and testing innovative products — with patience and a long-term view of social impact. This approach allows aspiring nonprofit founders to field-test their ideas during their two-year stay at Beespace before making the jump to organization-building. In that time, a supportive learning community develops, pushing our “incubees” to identify truly transformative solutions to social problems.

For the Global Entrepreneur

Stocksy_txpbca46478zpz000_Small_824780 (1)The International Business Innovation Association

From the Site: The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship.  Driven by its mission, InBIA helps communities enable their entrepreneurs to transform their dreams into innovative businesses that make global prosperity a reality. InBIA serves over 2,100 members in across 60 nations. InBIA’s members are managers of business incubators, accelerators, university commercialization/entrepreneurship centers and regional economic development stakeholders focused on building entrepreneurial ecosystems in their communities. InBIA members serve every entrepreneurial demographic (age, ethnicity, and gender), population area (rural, urban, and suburban), and industry sector (IT/software, biotech, energy, manufacturing/prototyping labs, agricultural, arts, food and non-tech businesses). Each year, InBIA provides thousands of entrepreneurship program managers and regional economic development leaders with information, education, policy recommendations, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies.

Travel Startups Incubator

From the Site:  We are a unique-niche incubator dedicated 100% to travel technology startups with a focus on mobile travel technology. B2B, business intelligence, business analytics, big data, e-commerce, infrastructure, distribution, travel management, airports. B2C leisure travel, business travel, hotel, air, ground services, destination, tours and activities, advertising, marketing and video. Build your startup where you live. We are a virtual incubator, you don’t come to a physical office to work with us, we work mobile. We have free office space available for our startups in Dubai, UAE and Manchester, UK. If you need office space we can provide it for you in these cities. If not we are very comfortable having you build where you live. The majority of our startups we invest in build their companies in their home towns. We invest globally. We invest in startups globally on all continents in North America, Europe, India, Asia, South America, Africa and Australia.


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