Here’s a fun fact for you: did you know that the very first startup incubator originated right in our backyard? In 1959, Joseph L. Mancuso opened the Batavia Industrial Center in a Batavia, New York, warehouse—less than 35 miles away from our location here at Sibley Square. If you’re wondering, what is a startup incubator, anyways? Then let’s take a step back.
Startup incubators are organizations geared towards speeding up the growth and success of startups. Some have physical locations, while others are virtual.
Many startup incubators also offer coworking. So what is coworking, and how’s it different from being a part of a startup incubator? Coworking is when an organization offers an office environment where people can work side-by-side in a shared space, enjoying community and a whole lot of coffee. Coworking spaces are typically open to anyone, whether it’s freelancers, remote workers, or entrepreneurs.
Coworking has become wildly popular since its inception in 2005, disrupting the real estate industry and how people work. These environments are attractive to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and virtual workers for their ability to enhance worker productivity and happiness, by offering the camaraderie that most people crave. Affordability and flexibility are also perks to the coworking model, as rates are typically discounted based on the large number of users, and most facilities don’t require the signing of a long-term lease.
While coworking is a fantastic option for many, coworking spaces are lacking in some ways. Because these spaces are set up to serve a generic, “one-size-fits-all” user profile, they focus on what most people need: access to dedicated desks, unlimited coffee, Internet, and conference rooms. However, they fail to cater to the specific needs of entrepreneurs, and provide the type of support that can make or break a business.
That’s a real problem given nearly 50 percent of coworking users today are small businesses.
Source: Global Workplace Association 2018 Study, from Huffington Post
Startup incubators, on the other hand, were specifically designed to provide entrepreneurs with what they need most: Help.
In addition to providing coworking space and basic services like coffee and fast internet, incubators help entrepreneurs get over the initial hurdles of starting and growing a company. This includes tackling more complex issues, like how to validate and protect their ideas and intellectual property, comply with the latest tax laws, hire and manage staff effectively, strengthen their competitive advantage; and, of course, find funding.
With 90 percent of startup incubators in the U.S. falling under the not-for-profit model, these services are most often provided to entrepreneurs at low or no cost. This provides a significant advantage when you consider how quickly professional service fees would add up if you were to hire experts to help you.
We recently asked a few of our incubating startups what it’s been like working at NextCorps to give you an idea of how incubation could impact your business.
- Everyone we polled admits that it’s scary starting a company. But they don’t feel they have to go it alone at NextCorps. The ability to work hand-in-hand with entrepreneurs-in-residence—who have launched, run, and exited their businesses—speeds both planning and decision-making. NextCorps staff and coaches also provide support in their areas of expertise, ensuring no question or need goes unanswered, from 3D printing design to generating a sales funnel, from marketing to manufacturing and beyond.
- Sitting next to someone in a coworking environment gives you someone to bounce ideas off of. But working alongside dozens of entrepreneurs, who are going through the same challenges, gives you deep learning through reciprocal peer tutoring. It also provides an entire ecosystem of people who are committed to your success. Multiple studies show that prolonged interaction with fellow startups and external experts allows teams to identify errors early, which accelerates business growth. Incubation also results in higher technology readiness levels and delivers lower technology risk, especially in the life sciences area.
- Our companies also say it’s hard to get in the door with stakeholders. NextCorps has key relationships with decision makers and contacts across diverse industries, government and academia. This network can be tapped to provide support on all things dealing with startups, such as how to improve product or service designs, comply with regulatory guidelines, find first-time buyers, secure a banking partner, and pitch investors.
Come see for yourself what incubation can offer your startup over coworking space.
For the entire month of October (2018), we’re offering startups the chance to work at our incubator at Sibley Square for free. While you’re here, you’ll be exposed to the various types of support we offer that can significantly increase your return on investment for rental space and improve your business’s chance of not only surviving, but thriving.
Apply for this limited-time, free offer, here.
We can’t wait to meet you!