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Joining a Business Incubator 101: How to Prepare & What to Expect?

Have you decided to become an entrepreneur, but don’t know what to do next?! Do your research, dig deep into the details and choose an incubator to join.
Over the last decade, incubators and accelerators have played an increasingly central role in the development of startups all over the world. Although the services that each incubator offers to its incubated startups varies, the general purpose is always the same; providing resources and services that can accelerate the growth of a startup beyond its limited resources.
Incubators work with startups in the concept-stage or baby businesses, helping them access resources and support to get them to the point of self-sustainability, through mentoring, coaching, networking with like-minded people, and even physical office space.
In order to choose the best-fit business incubator for your startup, read the article to know what should you expect when going through the process of applying and working with a business incubator.

1. Do your Research
Every incubator is unique, so you should do a substantial amount of research before applying. Show the incubator why you’re right for it, and make sure it’s right for you as well.
Understand the resources and services offered, the cost of being involved, and make certain the whole package matches the needs of your company. And Look specifically at:
Mentors: Do the mentors in the incubator have experiences and networks that are beneficial for your startup?
Location: Be sure the location is agreeable for you and your business. Consider also that as you build your network in this location, you may consider staying there after the program.
Curriculum: Be certain you can handle the curriculum, especially if your business is operating and needs regular management.

2. Assemble your Team
Business incubators look for strong founders with strong teams. So make sure you have the right people the incubator will be depending on to execute the end business strategy.

3. Prepare your Pitch
This is how you will differentiate your startup from the others, you should be well-prepared and well-rehearsed. Keep in mind that the incubator wants companies that can succeed, so focus on how your business will succeed, not just what it needs.

4. Determine What You Want to Give
If the incubator will ask for an exchange of equity in your company. Ask yourself how much you are willing to give to be in the incubator? Also make sure to have your own legal counsel or advisor to help you with the final term sheets.

Remember that it’s worth throwing your hat in the ring and applying for an incubator, but it takes more than filling out an application.
Do your research, fill it properly, send it in and hope for the best!