How Incubators Fare in the Business World

IncubatorsBecause the job market is doing poorly, many people are seeking to start their own businesses. Business incubators, or non-profit programs designed to help budding entrepreneurs develop established businesses, are thriving in this environment, with over 1,000 incubators in the U.S. compared to only 12 just 30 years ago. Many entrepreneurs seeking a leg up in the business world are currently clamoring to apply, but some feel that the benefits are not worth the trouble.

Why Incubators May Not Be Worth the Trouble

Seattle entrepreneur Brewster Stansislaw says that the programs demand more time than he is willing to give. He intends to pursue his business full-time, but the Founder Institute, the incubator program he was accepted to, demands a minimum 15-hour-a-week commitment to various classes, functions and meetings.

New York entrepreneur Andrew Schrage was similarly unwilling to spend this time. “To remain competitive,” Schrage said, he has to “squeeze every second” out of each week. The time demanded by incubators for business seminars seems inefficient to Schrage and other business owners.

Poornima Vijayashanker, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, was dismayed at the lack of understanding displayed by many graduates of business incubators. They seemed only to know about technological development and step-by-step business models. They didn’t know much about real-world business development such as how to market and how to get customers. She also felt that by focusing on a narrow business model, incubators deterred entrepreneurs from seeking creative solutions.

Simon Schneiders, a U.K. business owner, also decided against a business incubator for slightly different reasons. Some incubators, he found, wanted to retain 20% equity in each business they helped to start, while others were founded by people without significant professional experience. In other words, these business incubators were every bit as confused as the startups they advised.

Read more at CNN Money.