An incubator is a business or organization that helps start-ups with advice, access to funding services, accounting or other administrative needs, and manufacturing or production space. Traditionally, incubators referred to large park or warehouse-like facilities where nascent businesses could rent space and benefit from the program’s expertise. Today, however, virtual incubators are becoming increasingly common, in which business is conducted at the entrepreneur’s home or office and there is no need for him or her to be on-site. In some cases, admission to an incubator program includes a venture capital investment from the incubator’s partners.
There are several incubator programs in New York City aimed at a variety of industries. Incubators came of age in the tech boom of the 90s, so many programs have focused on tech start-ups, such as NYU-Poly’s well-known tech incubator.
BBC.com recently posted a report about some success stories made possible by incubator programs in New York. One program is located at a large bakery, which also offers incubator services to small food-based businesses, who can in turn rent kitchen space for just $17. Considering the high cost of any type of commercial facilities in New York, programs like this are often the only way a budding business can see any type of success in its early stages.
Ideally, once a business grows beyond what an incubator has to offer, it will be able to move on to its own production facility. Kombrewcha, a company that brews a tea with a slight alcohol content, was enrolled in an incubator program in New York before finally setting up in its own space in New Hampshire.
Programs such as these can be a boon to local economies, as economic growth is this economic climate is often “jobless.” These small businesses need to staff for very basic roles once they begin to grow, so they are prime job creators. They also stimulate demand for legal, accounting, and other business services.