Incubator and accelerator programs for small businesses are an important part of assisting new and small businesses flourish in a growing economic environment. Although they are similar, incubator programs and accelerator programs are not quite the same, as each is particularly suited to businesses at very different stages.
Incubator programs are often specifically geared towards assisting startups and early-stage businesses rather than established ones. They will often offer their clients daily assistance with running the business, open communications access to service providers with relevant experience, mutual administrative services, guidance in the form of mentorship programs and advisory boards, assistance with marketing, and sometimes a location for the business. Incubator programs are often run through schools and universities.
Accelerator programs, on the other hand, are more geared towards helping businesses that have already been firmly established and are in need of a more intense, boot camp-style of assistance with growth and expansion. Accelerator programs generally only last for the period of a few months, and they often tend to stake a higher priority in helping formulate creative solutions and goals for the future of the company and putting strategies in place to achieve those after the accelerator program has ended.
In Hardee County, the Industrial Development Authority has begun a partnership with the Economic Development Authority to create a hybrid incubator and accelerator program to cater to businesses at many stages of development, and their leading joint project is renovating a currently unused building into a space that will be dedicated to entrepreneurial growth and resources. This space will serve as a place for entrepreneurs to take their ideas from conception to fully functioning businesses that will be able to independently stand on their own in Hardee County outside of the facility.