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How To Be Accepted To A Startup Business Incubator

Startup business incubators are highly competitive, but for good reason. If accepted onto the scheme, you can access funding, experienced business mentors, workshops, private investors, a community of entrepreneurs... the list goes on! In this guide, we'll cover tips on how to get accepted into a startup business incubator.

How To Be Accepted To A Startup Business Incubator

Startup incubators are organisations that aim to help new startups with early difficulties related to running a company. 

Startup business incubators are highly competitive, but for good reason. If you are among the lucky few who get accepted, you can access funding, experienced business mentors and investors, community of entrepreneurs and various resources that could help get your business off the ground

Sounds good? If you want to be selected for a business startup incubator, you need to be prepared - and we’re here to help.

You'll find tips to get accepted into a startup incubator in this post, including more information on how incubators help new businesses. 

How To Get Accepted For A Startup Business Incubator

Here are the four things you need to do to improve your chances of being accepted to a startup business incubator.

  1. Assemble your team
  2. Network
  3. Be serious about your application
  4. Prepare your pitch

1. Assemble Your Team

You don't necessarily need to have a whole team of staff but other than a great business idea, business incubators look for strong founders who lead a stable team.

When you apply for a position in the incubator, the panel will need to know whether you have a skilled team who can execute your ideas. Always make sure you have the right people in place before you enter.

You can find several tips to attract talent to your business from this post. 

Team members assembling puzzle pieces together. This shows how assembling a team can help you get accepted to a startup business incubator.

Startup incubators look for business leaders with a strong team in place.

2. Network 

Prospective startup business incubator candidates need to establish a strong presence, for example, on platforms like Linkedin. Networking can help you form an early connection with mentors, giving you your own network before joining an incubator.

Remember that even if you get rejected from your desired incubator program, chances are it’s not the end. Keep in touch with the program leaders and send them updates about major business milestones you have achieved. 

It's also a good idea to recommend their program to others, as these programs rely heavily on word of mouth. Knowing that they have your support could be very valuable to them, especially once applications open in the future.

Now, this doesn't mean that they will accept you the next time you apply, but this strategy could help open several doors.

A group of people at a networking event, which shows how a strong presence influences startup business incubator acceptance rates.

A strong presence helps establish an early connection with mentors and present yourself as a viable candidate.

3. Be Serious About Your Application

Even if your technology or service is better than the other applicants, an unpolished application can cost you your place in the incubator.

Always be serious about your application. This involves spending a lot of time on your application, making it look professional and ensuring there aren't any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Your business may have the better products, but an unpolished application can cost your place on the incubator.

Your business may have better products, but an unpolished application can cost you your incubator place. 

4. Prepare Your Pitch

Your pitch is how you will differentiate your startup from the other applicants, so it needs to be prepared and well-rehearsed.

Always tailor your pitch to the audience you are talking to and avoid using too much technical jargon. You must also be able to set yourself apart from the rest and justify the market share you are applying for.

If you're applying to a startup business incubator, experience doesn't matter, even if you’ve been in the industry for 15 years. As long you show your drive and know what you are talking about, you will have a good chance of being accepted into the program.

How Incubators Help Startups 

The services each startup incubator offers to new businesses differ, though these organisations primarily aim to help startups navigate the business world. A startup business incubator can provide resources to accelerate a startup's growth through early product development and customer acquisition

Their support includes exposure to investors and mentors, networking opportunities, co-working space alongside other businesses and experienced professionals, and business funding. 

1. Exposure To Investors and Mentors 

Incubators are home to angel investors and other individuals who can mentor early entrepreneurs. Having access to a wide number of experienced mentors means there are significant opportunities for learning during the program.

Many startup incubators also offer workshops and panel discussions that can help support early business development. 

A business man presenting his idea to investors. This shows how exposure to investors influences a startup business incubator application.

Having access to experienced mentors from startup incubators provides significant learning opportunities.

2. Networking Opportunities

For business growth, having a good product or service is only half of the story. Networking is just as important as it helps build relationships with other professionals, leaders, and startup entrepreneurs from your industry.

Being part of a startup incubator is the perfect opportunity to meet a strong network of people who can give you contacts, referrals, opportunities, and exposure in your industry.

3. Access To Coworking Space And Necessary Resources

Another way incubators can help startups is through access to coworking spaces and necessary resources to get their organisation up and running efficiently. 

In addition to having access to beautiful office spaces, co-working spaces have benefits like improving productivity levels and fostering team collaboration.  

Your business will be exposed to other industries sharing the same space, which improves your networking prospects. 

Tramshed Tech has several co-working spaces where start-ups and larger companies can collaborate and work. Be a part of our community with our co-working memberships

4. Access To Funding

One of the main reasons why startups fail is because they run out of cash. Startup incubators have noteworthy business partners who assist startups in the scheme. These partners also provide funds and other valuable resources for startups. 

All businesses involved in the Tramshed Tech start up academy will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors whereby one lucky business will receive a prize of £10,000 in equity-free cash, awarded directly from ‘Google For Start Ups’.

A laptop screen with the word 'funding' visible on screen. This shows how access to funding influences startup business incubator applications. Startup incubators have several partners that can give new startups access to funding. 

The Tramshed Tech Startup Academy 

One of the many business support schemes we run here at Tramshed is the Start Up Academy. The free ten-week startup business incubator is designed to help early-stage tech creators develop their startup ideas.

The Startup Academy covers all aspects of building a successful business, including idea generation, mastering pitches, product development and team building. Find out more about the Tramshed Tech Start Up Academy here. 

For more information about what we do, tips from our experts and everything in between, check out our news page or get in touch to speak to a friendly member of the team.

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