What is a Business Incubator?
Though the term “Business Incubator” and “Business Accelerator” are often used interchangeably, and both are geared to helping a business grow, there is a difference. A Business Incubator is a company that offers services, primarily to start up and young companies, which are still working on formulating the core business concept and operational principals. These service offering is for things such as:
- Help with business basics (e.g. Business formation and Planning tools)
- Networking activities
- Marketing Planning assistance and guidance (e.g. Logo Creation, Marketing Plans, Graphic Design, Website creation/improvement)
- Help with accounting/financial management
- Access to funding sources (e.g. Strategic Partners, Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, Lenders) – see Capital Resource Referral Services
- Help with presentation skills & Business Documents at discounted rates – see Investor Ready Business Plan and Document Services
- Links to education and other business resources
- Consulting and advising services
- Advisory boards and mentors
- Management team identification
- Technology commercialization assistance
- Help with regulatory compliance
- Intellectual Property management
- and more.
Incubators are specifically geared towards young businesses that are just trying to get going and are still working out the details of their business model and management. The time span that many businesses stay under the guidance of an incubator varies from a matter of months to several years.
IRA’s Incubator Program
IRA offers Business Incubator services to young companies. The IRA will conduct a thorough audit of the business concept and management in order to establish what is needed to help develop the idea and business management, establishing a Plan of Action. Once this is completed, a written proposal will be issued along with a Plan of Action, which will include timelines. Upon your acceptance of the proposal and Plan of Action, IRA will assign you to a Business Development Specialist who will be your representative who will be watching over the service progression and available to advise. Essentially, you will be hiring an MFA to assist and guide you with everything listed above, and also:
- Assessing the quality of earnings and cash flow
- Analyzing the quality the value proposition of the products or services you are providing
- Assets to be purchased and liabilities to be assumed
- Identifying internal control weaknesses including observations on systems and personnel
- Identifying and assistance with transitional issues
- Informing you of areas of risk and concern
- Preparing financial projections analysis
- Recommending financing alternatives and sources
- Providing a comprehensive report of issues
- Working capital adjustments and analysis
IRA’s Fee Structure for Incubator Program
IRA’s fee structure is a monthly recurring charge + any external expenses (e.g. learn more about business formation requires payment to the state in which company is being formed). IRA will do its best to work with your budget, and has incubator fees set as low as $100.00 per month.