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What is the key to a successful incubator?

Incubators play an important role in the life of a start-up, yet results vary, especially in developing countries. Indeed, experience shows that not all are able to scale up and graduate the incubation phase... I am trying to determine the key factors of success of an incubator and the pitfalls to avoid... Any thoughts?

5 Replies

Jessica Alter
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Jessica Alter Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur & Advisor
There is already a ton of discussion on both incubators and accelerators in general and specific ones.
Good to do a search first and then follow the topichttp://members.founderdating.com/discuss/topic/Accelerators
Theodore Vaida
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Theodore Vaida Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder/CTO at Exact Assembly
Jessica - you keep noting there are other discussions on this topic, however this seems to be a question a lot of new FD members want to ask. Perhaps we should tone down the "RTFM" responses and either ignore the "re-posts" or stop following the topic...

Selma - are you asking as a potential creator of an Incubator, or as a participant? I don't recall seeing any topics asked as a potential Incubator creator, and that would be an interesting discussion.

There is lots of feedback from those of us who have tried Incubators and/or Accelerators. If one is to summarize, the feedback is mixed, Accelerators and Incubators do not offer any guarantees of success - you'll still be in the same boat as every other startup hoping for luck, good timing, and hard-work.
Selma Elouardighi
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Selma Elouardighi Entrepreneur
Founder and Director General at Cluster Industriel pour les Services Environnementaux-Maroc
Theodore: I am asking as a potential creator of an incubator of green start-ups in Morocco. I see the need, and I have a strategy in mind that is unique and appropriate for the country, though I don't have any practical experience in incubators.. My knowledge is mainly theoretical!

Timing is definitely right. I am currently doing research on the idiosyncracies of green start-ups, and trying to figure out the best way to go about this...

I did notice the mixed feedback, and the difficulty to pinpoint elements of success, which is why I find myself in a dilemma..

Thanks again for the support!
Theodore Vaida
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Theodore Vaida Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder/CTO at Exact Assembly
Perhaps you should delete this thread and re-ask the question, making it expressly clear you are asking as a potential Accelerator principle instead of as an individual Entrepreneur which is the general assumption here. If you can edit the title of the discussion I would do that.

My advice - first figure out what "success" looks like. Are you trying to ensure the capital pool grows, or does your incubator need to have "winning" businesses that exit and operate profitably? Socially responsible business creation is harder than pure business investment. I'm much too anglo-centric to comment on Moroccan business practices, but assuming they are not too different from the US, you'll probably want to see if there are any current VC or Angel investors already in the area and pump them for history. That will help you set your goals - it could be the number of businesses started (regardless of their exits), or your focus on Green outcomes could mean your grading would be based on the environmental effects of the businesses.


Selma Elouardighi
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Selma Elouardighi Entrepreneur
Founder and Director General at Cluster Industriel pour les Services Environnementaux-Maroc
Great advice Theodore! I went ahead and started a new thread as suggested: Creating a green incubator: any advice?

I am defining success as the number of businesses who exit and fly on their own, but will probably also include some measure of the amount of pollution prevented through these businesses..

Did not think of locating local investors at this stage...Thank you for bringing it up! I will work on that next!

Thanks a million for your help!
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