In my first month working at the Macomb-OU INCubator, I’ve gained more knowledge about startups than I have in the past twenty-so years of my life. As the marketing and communication assistant for an incubator, I am able to see devotion and passion stem from the variety of intelligent entrepreneurs who walk through our doors each day. I didn’t know, however, why these entrepreneurs were coming to an incubator for help when they are already packed with dedication and remarkable ideas.
I learned that starting a business is much more challenging than just selling an idea to the market. Many startups fail trying to launch their business. WSJ.com said, “Of all companies, about 60% of startups survive to age three and roughly 35% survive to age 10, according to separate studies by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes U.S. entrepreneurship.”
Having said that, it seems near impossible to work alone and successfully launch a business. The vital resources and support just aren’t feasible. According to Inc.com, incubators and accelerators are a powerful way to gain support for a business launch and prepare companies for growth.
Business incubation has been taking the world by storm over the past few decades. According to the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA):
- Business incubation can be traced back to the late 1950s.
- In 1980, there were 12 incubators.
- By 2012, over 1,250 programs operated in the U.S.
- There are an estimated 7,000 business incubators now operating worldwide.
Business incubators are growing because they are working. NBIA said 87% of firms that have graduated from business incubators are still in business compared to only 44% of firms who are not incubator graduates. Those numbers are astonishing. Incubators provide resources to startups that they would not have access to otherwise. Incubators will help startups prosper whether they are in need of funding sources, market opportunities, or a business model.
Incubators not only help small businesses but also the communities around them. NBIA said, “Business incubators generate up to 20 times more jobs than any other federally funded community infrastructure project — at a fraction of the cost per job.” I would love to see business incubators, such as the one I am able to work for, continue to create jobs in our community.
Startups that seek business incubation for the guidance and powerful resources offered are taking a step in the right direction. Successful business launches require more than a dash of intelligence and a pinch of dedication. It’s an all or nothing risk. I hope to see more startups walking through our doors as part of their business journey.
Marketing and Communications Assistant