There have been several such instances where we see that a plant or seed is kept in a special chamber with measured quantities of light, nutrition, moisture and ventilation, etc. That special chamber is the incubator, whose job is to create a favourable environment for a plant’s optimum growth.
Similarly, the road to entrepreneurship is a bumpy one. A new startup when envisioned just has an idea but in order to bring it to fruition, we need startup incubators to give direction to a startup’s business idea till it matures.
What is a Startup Incubator?
A startup incubator is a collaborative programme that creates a favourable environment for the startups to learn, understand, question, offer resources and get mentorship about the progression of their startup idea in the real world. Incubators are generally non-profit organisations that are run by either private or public entities.
A startup incubator benefits an entrepreneur by providing them with workspace, mentoring, training on business essentials, offering tips to network with industry veterans, approaching seed investors, marketing, etc.
Startup incubators are often associated with premier institutes such as BITS Pilani, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi and other B-Schools or are launched by successful entrepreneurs and renowned companies.
Services Provided by an Incubator to Startup
Here are some of the services that a startup will avail once associated with an incubator:
Through networking, new startups can develop strong professional relationships with leaders, professionals and other successful startup entrepreneurs within the industry. Networking benefits a new startup to gain contacts, referrals, new business opportunities.
Help with business basics
Since all the budding entrepreneurs might not have a commerce or MBA background, incubators can power them to understand the basics of finance management, human resource management, operations and supply chain, etc.
Startup incubators will assist startups regarding marketing and PR strategies and select the best channel of marketing.
Access to Angel Investors and venture capitalists for funding
Startup incubator provide startups with access to funding opportunities by developing investor relations or programmes that facilitate the transfer of funds. Incubators have numerous partners that work to assist the startups in access to funding and other invaluable resources.
Helping with Business Etiquettes and Presentation skills
To generate interest in the minds of investors, startup founders should be thorough with presentation skills and maintaining the right body language and business etiquette to create the right impression.
Comprehensive business training programmes
Startup incubator host regular business training programmes for startups with a focus on topics such as future forecasting, business fundamentals, how to obtain funding, legal structures and quick prototyping.
Favourable working space with High-speed Internet access
Startup incubator offer a proper working space for startups with high-speed internet connectivity, since renting an office space is expensive. The working spaces can be either shared one or a private office or a single cubicle.
Intellectual property management and legal counsel
Startup incubator help startups highlight the weaknesses or vulnerabilities in their startup model, therefore helping them to file patents and other formalities to safeguard intellectual properties like logo, web design, special recipe or formula, etc.
Access to bank loans, loan funds and guarantee programmes
Several banks and financial institutions are connected with incubators to offer easy access to bank loans, funds and guarantee programmes.
Management team identification
Based on the offerings of a startup, incubators will provide the necessary guidance to startups about building the right workforce with the right talent and skillset.
Help with regulatory compliance
Development of a product or service might not be enough as it needs to observe regulatory compliance, in local, national, or universal legal requirements or restrictions. Incubators provide startups access to experts in these fields.
Accounting/financial management assistance
A startup incubator can help startups with the necessary financial planning. In this way, the startup can manage their financial resources which will be well utilized.
A startup incubator is a collaborative programme that creates a favourable environment for the startups to learn, understand, question, offer resources and get mentorship about the progression of their startup idea in the real world.
Top 10 startup incubators in India
Here is the list of top startup incubators in India:
Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship by IIM Ahmedabad
It focuses on startups operating in information communication technology, cleantech, and social.
Amity Innovation Incubator
Focuses on rural innovation and social entrepreneurship, information and communication technologies, edtech, biotech, and material sciences.
Based out of Bengaluru, it focuses on areas like mobile internet, e-commerce, and tablet/mobile app.
Its focus areas include IT/ITES, telecom, mobile VAS, gaming and animation, internet/web, media and entertainment, education technology, healthcare technology, manufacturing products, alternative energy, clean technology, cloud computing, and retail technology.
It focuses on startups creating innovative solutions in E-commerce, mobile applications, customised gifting and branding solutions, and software products.
It focuses on mobile payment & banking, retail efficiency, healthcare delivery, and big data analytics.
Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning(NSRCEL) by IIM Bangalore
It is an open incubator that does not focus on any area.
Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Park, Technology Business Incubator by IIT Kharagpur
It has no focus areas.
It is a physical startup incubator based out of Mumbai that focuses on consumer Internet, e-commerce, sports, education, healthcare, financial services, analytics, services, and online ticketing.
Focuses on e-commerce, SAAS, mobile, social media, and consumer internet.