How to find a business incubator to join


Business incubators are low-cost options for new entrepreneurs to hatch their new companies. An incubator, which is usually housed in a warehouse or office complex setting, reduces a start-up company’s overhead costs by offering low rent and shared support services.

STEPS:

  1. Decide whether your business is appropriate for an incubator. Anywhere from 10 to 40 small businesses might reside in one incubator, most using office space of 1,000 square feet or less. Most likely, a manufacturing business probably wouldn’t fit in an incubator.
  2. Find an incubator that suits your business. Some incubators cater to specific industries such as software or environmental consulting, for example.
  3. See what other businesses currently reside in the incubator. You may want to take advantage of the accounting services company that recently moved in. Or you may want to avoid a company that could be a competitor.
  4. Ask what is included in the tenant fees. In some cases, this includes office furnishings, janitorial services, shared use of the fax and copy machines, and a parking space.
  5. Make sure you know the terms of the lease. Many incubators expect fledgling businesses to move out after two or three years.

TIP:

  • Take advantage of the incubator setting in which you’ll be surrounded by other budding entrepreneurs. Use them as sounding boards.
  • Plan well in advance for your departure from the incubator. Have enough funds set aside for the higher rent you will need to pay and the office equipment you’ll need to buy, once you leave.
  • To find the nearest incubator, call your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Administration office.

WARNINGS:

/ Remember that, just as a chick eventually leaves the nest, so will you. Don't become too dependent on being in the incubator.