People have a tendency to confuse business accelerator programs with business incubators. If you do not think that is true, then you probably don’t know that people also use those two terms interchangeably.
In other words, you have probably met people who were talking about incubators when, in fact, they were referring to business
There is a stark difference between those two concepts; if you analyze them closely, you will realize that a number of elements actually separate them. Now, it is somewhat understandable that people actually confuse these two concepts because they overlap in some areas.
If you have never heard of the term, a business accelerator provides support to growth driven companies by availing education, financing, and mentorship. They are purposed towards providing rapid and intense educational courses that help accelerate the life cycle of young and innovative companies.
In understanding what business accelerator programs do, it is easy to see why they are sometimes confused with incubators. Both accelerators and incubators provide guidance and mentorship that businesses can use to grow.
The differences emerge in the stages of a business at which each one of these concepts can be applied. The purpose of an incubator is primarily to make available space within which a business feels safe enough to learn to grow and operate optimally.
Incubators help businesses gain access to financing and professional networks. They also avail business skills training. For the most part, incubators are part of a business’ lifecycle from the startup phase, and they exist to provide a business every single tool it might need to actually stand on its feet and progress ostensibly.
However, it isn’t enough for a business to stand on its feet. Just because an incubator helped a business to begin operating, doesn’t mean that business will keep operating or succeed in the long run.
Unfortunately, incubators are of little use to a business once it can stand on its own feet. And this is where business accelerator programs come into play. While incubators help businesses reach that point where they can actually operate, accelerators help businesses move forward.
They provide the tools that a company needs to prepare for the future; in fact, accelerators can help a business map out its future. Incubation programs last as long as it takes to give a business the support and mentorship it needs to start running,
and that can sometimes take many years.
Once a business is standing, an accelerator program rarely requires more than six months to achieve its goals; and the goal of the average accelerator is to initiate rapid growth in a business.
Businesses grow by expanding their markets, and it is common for new businesses to freeze in their tracks, meeting their daily operational objectives but finding it impossible to leave their rut and actually move forward.
Business accelerator programs come into play here, helping companies take that next step forward. Both of these concepts work side by side. A business often requires both an incubator and an accelerator to achieve any notable success in the long run. However, it would be foolish to use these two terms interchangeably because they are not the same.