"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela
Startup incubators and accelerator programmes play a vital role in startup ecosystems throughout the world and it’s no different here in New Zealand.
New Zealand has numerous incubators and accelerators, helping hundreds of entrepreneurs every year to identify and validate market opportunities, plan and build out their products and teams, and get “investment ready”. Some programmes are delivered by organisations dedicated to startup business incubation and acceleration, while others are delivered by organisations (such as Regional Economic Development Agencies) as part of a broader range of services.
While some are focused on helping founders across all industries, others may be focused on specific verticals or commercialising emerging technologies and scientific research.
As the name implies, incubators are generally focused on helping entrepreneurs in the very early stages of business formation – sometimes before a product or service has even been created. Market validation and business model development are a key focus, and the startup is generally provided with space in a dedicated shared workspace, with easy access to the incubators mentors and business support services, and allowing the startup to stay focused on the iterative process of product development and market fit.
Startup accelerators tend to be short, fixed term sprints of no more than 3-6 months focused on helping existing teams with potential to scale up, and may not require participant businesses to work onsite.
In addition to business development assistance, incubators and accelerators may invest seed money into participant companies in return for a share of the company, and programmes generally end with investment pitches to angel investors when the startup is considered investment ready.
Incubators and accelerators can be invaluable for entrepreneurs, allowing them to access years of entrepreneurial experience, knowledge, connections and investment they may otherwise not enjoy, and fast-track their development. If you have a business idea and are not sure what to do next, most incubators offer drop-in sessions and are happy to chat with you.
SODA Inc Hamilton
BCC Palmerston North
Creative HQ Wellington
Powerhouse Ventures Christchurch
Rotorua X Rotorua
Live The Dream Wellington
Mahuki (Te Papa) Wellington
The Hatchery (University of Canterbury) Christchurch
Click Queenstown Lakes
Flux Accelerator Auckland
Health Innovation Hub Auckland & Christchurch
Kokiri Te Awamutu
Sprout Accelerator Palmerston North
Kiwi Bank FinTech Accelerator Wellington
Lightning Lab Wellington
Lightning Lab Electric Wellington
Lightning Lab GovTech Wellington
Venture Up Wellington
Fonterra Ventures Colab Auckland
Vodafone Xone Christchurch
TechRepublic.com Accelerators vs Incubators: What startups need to know
Wikipedia.com Wikipedia – Business Incubators
Wikipedia.com Wikipedia – Startup Accelerators