It has never been easier to launch a business than it is today. There are a whole host of organisations in place to help project leaders, from incubators and fab labs to innovation, finance and industrialization accelerators. But how can you find the right partner for each step?
Incubators are normally the first port of call for project leaders, offering support from idea to concept.
Accelerators then handle the concept to start-up phase, providing assistance when it comes to putting together offers, market intelligence, business development and initial returns. Industrialization accelerators, meanwhile, deal with the product itself, their goal being to make it easy to manufacture on a mass-scale.
Incubators provide project leaders with support, helping them to structure their business plans. They offer advice on everything, from legal status and accounting decisions to marketing. Incubators also host start-ups (renting out offices and/or making workspaces available) in addition to putting start-ups in touch with their partners.
Often confused with incubators, what sets accelerators apart is the speed at which their support programmes operate and the emphasis they place on mentoring. These can be thought of as “commando missions”, taking the form of programmes and workshops. In such cases, the start-up will already have been launched. Programmes will be primarily business-oriented, the end goal being proven access to markets and the ability to produce turnover.
Alongside incubators and accelerators, industrialization accelerators assist start-ups in the process of determining and implementing their production strategies. Industrialization acceleration programmes are endurance tests spread out over several quarters, from design all the way through to ramp-up. These programmes are executed by expert teams responsible for overseeing and performing tasks, enabling start-ups to redistribute their resources and to focus on higher-yield tasks.
What this actually involves is redesigning the prototype, which won’t have been conceived with mass production in mind. The aim is to be able to manufacture it at very little cost, in large quantities and in a way that is both reliable and repeatable. The main stages of this phase are:
- Assessing the state of play: cost, level of reliability
- Identifying priorities
- Planning the entire project, from design through to series production
- Designing the product and identifying the assembly stages
- Testing and validation
- Designing and developing manufacturing equipment
- The logistics chain and drafting the manufacturing file
Each structure is different and will work to complement the skillsets, expertise and networks of the executive team. The range of expertise available within these structures will boost your start-up’s chances of success.
See also: Production : from idea to market.