Social media and it’s features such as reels are growing popular among the budding entrepreneurs that hack the algorithm of the app to attract viewers and brand their product online in hopes of customer discovery. But have you ever booked a cab on social media? Or a rental apartment? While the luxury goods attract their salacious audience easily, courtesy the pop culture branding, our silent heroes, may be individuals with early stage business ideas, others may be academics, pitching business plans to reverse climate damage or prove advantageous to the economy in terms of innovation- their pitches are resounded in the selection process set up by startup accelerator and Incubation programs. They are two starkly different startup programs but almost always get used in the same context for reasons that they co-exist in the same environment, i.e, an environment that supports the growth of a business. An accelerator as the word suggests catalyses the growth of a business while the incubator nurtures a business with undiscovered potential. This brings me to the defining statement of the article: They both support businesses but at different stages of it. An accelerator has a selection process that employs a cohort of some of the most ground breaking start up firms and their objective is to bask in the businesses that don’t care to grow organically over a period of time but rather reach their discovered customers immediately. The incubator, however, much like the infant’s care crib, basks in business that have stumped at a business idea, an aspirational portrait of a business. Goes without saying, the selection process of an accelerator considers entries of ventures that have already developed a prototype, done project development, planned out their business, and completed customer discovery. The only thing they are in need of is a diverse mentorship. This mentorship provides the businesses with tacit knowledge that makes them function like a business with experience improving their credibility in the market. The support that an accelerator program provides, includes, seed funding, legal advice, networking, mentorship from industry experts and co working spaces while an incubator program provide mentorship and the tools to help the business develop their prototype, sketch out a business plan and discover their customers. They both provide social capital, i.e. the mentorship however, their sources of monetary capital are different: accelerators are funded by corporations, government agencies and existing companies while the incubators are funded by venture capital firms and universities. The investments fueled by an accelerator program expects to monetize their 5-15% equity in your company and are bound by a time frame of 3-6 months while not-for-profit incubator programs are solely tailored for an entrepreneur and exercises no control over the time the business takes to simply get off the ground and become operational.
They’re both tailored to serve different sizes of ventures and hold individual gap in the market of start up programs.