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SHOULD YOU JOIN A BUSINESS INCUBATOR?

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Business incubators are more than just office space. If you move your start-up into one without first doing your research, you may regret your decision. 

It’s important to understand that incubators want to do more than simply “store” entrepreneurs; they seek to coach, connect, and motivate them as well. Also, it’s critical to understand what incubator life is like, both socially and professionally.

Here are some ways to tell if you are a good fit for an incubator:

You Should Join a Business Incubator or Accelerator If . . . 

You appreciate social environments. Networking is constant in most incubators, who often encourage socialization among member companies. However, for some entrepreneurs, the social traffic may be an annoying distraction. If you think that too many people buzzing around will interfere with your success, don’t join an incubator that doesn’t offer secluded office space. 

You see the value of business planning. Many entrepreneurs get so involved in one facet of their businesses that shifting gears seems impossible. But the incubator philosophy is that entrepreneurs should be mindful of their entire business — not just one part like product development — and there are plenty of statistics to back that philosophy up. If you’re the kind of person who would hate doing customer development research before going to market, or would despise reviewing financials before your product is even developed, then you should consider other options for office space.     

You’re comfortable with consultants. Most incubators will provide ongoing business advice, usually in the form of regular sit-down meetings and pop-ins. If you don’t like coaching, think meetings are a hassle, or don’t think consultants can help you, then maybe a business incubator isn’t your place. But most entrepreneurs can find at least one area — such as marketing, finance, IT — where advice is welcome. 

Your business idea is fleshed out. “Because I want to be an entrepreneur” is a bad reason to want to be join an incubator. Accelerators are their to help improve your chances of success, not tell you what the next million-dollar-idea is. 

You mesh well with the incubator’s mission and history. In some regions, entrepreneurs have a choice of what incubator to join. To choose, look carefully at the incubator’s current and past client portfolios. Do these companies resemble yours? If not, then perhaps you should keep shopping.

List of Louisiana Incubators and Accelerators

If you think you might benefit from working in an incubator, here’s a list of Louisiana organizations that provide incubation services:

Name; Location; Website

LBTC Business Incubator (LSU Innovation Park); Baton Rouge; Website

Louisiana Technology Park; Baton Rouge; Website

LSU AgCenter Food Incubator; Baton Rouge; Website

Level Up Labs; Baton Rouge; Website

Central Louisiana Business Incubator; Website

Dixie Business Center Denham Springs; Website

JEDCO Business Innovation Center Fairfield; Website

Launch Pad: New Orleans; New Orleans; Website

Propeller Incubator; New Orleans; Website

Idea Village; New Orleans; Website

PowerMoves NOLA; New Orleans; Website

Chase Business Incubator; New Orleans; Website

The SWLA Entrepreneurial & Economic Development Center New Orleans; Website

New Orleans Bio Innovation Center; New Orleans; Website

InterTech Science Park; Shreveport; Website

Cohab Shreveport; Website

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Stephen Loy