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Aspiring entrepreneur? Here’s why you should enrol in a university incubator programme

SOURCE: IAN TUTTLE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
(L-R) Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Red Carpet at NASA Ames Research Center on November 03, 2019 in Mountain View, California.


By U2B Staff 

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Carving a business of your own from the ground up has its appeals, but when a whopping 90% of startups fail, what can you do to avoid becoming part of a depressing statistic? That’s where university incubators – which help startups accelerate success – come in. 

University incubators are gaining traction as aspiring entrepreneurs look towards becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. They help nurture startups through advice and mentorship, develop their product and prototype, give access to funding in addition to helping candidates expand their network with key stakeholders to increase their chances of success. Depending on the programme and specialisation, they may also offer workspace and training.

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Value-adding programmes 

Without a doubt, university incubators can offer many benefits to aspiring entrepreneurs, making them highly attractive.

MarketResearch.com notes that many start-up incubators are designed to model co-working spaces, and may include labs, cafes and mentoring staff. To join, students will typically need to apply for admission and submit a business plan for consideration. 

“Campus incubators provide a space for students to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, learn best practices, and seek funding from investors. They not only help students develop hands-on entrepreneurial skills, they can also contribute to job creation and promote university-industry collaboration,” it said.

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Best university incubator programmes

Many universities have incubators to help candidates succeed in their ventures.

In its report, the UBI Global World Rankings of Business Incubators and Accelerators, UBI Global –  a Stockholm-based data and advisory firm specialising in mapping and highlighting the world of business incubation and acceleration – ranks incubators based on groups.

The world’s top five university business incubator programmes include the DMZ at Ryerson University (Ryerson University), İTÜ Çekirdek (Istanbul Technical University), PoliHub – Innovation District & Startup Accelerator (Politecnico di Milano), The SETsquared Partnership (University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Southampton, University of Surrey)  and YES!Delf (Delft University of Technology, The Hague University of Applied Sciences). 

In explaining the rank, UBI Global said business incubators are those that derive their business objectives primarily from one or more universities, which achieve outstanding impact and performance relative to their global peers. 

“These programmes outperform their global peers with regard to the value they provide to their innovation ecosystems and client startups, as well as the attractiveness of the programmes themselves,” it said.

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The report also ranks other areas such as “World Top University Incubators” (business incubators that derive their business objectives primarily from one or more universities which achieve outstanding impact and performance relative to their global peers) and “World Top Public Business Incubators” (business incubators that derive their business objectives primarily from one or more public entities and/or NGOs and/or foundations, which achieve outstanding impact and performance relative to their global peers), to name a few.

At the end of the day, there are many types of incubator programmes available, each with different specialisations and resources for students. With the right mentoring, access to finances and networking opportunities, university incubators can help startups enjoy a strong kick off for better success.