What’s an incubator?

Illustration: Katarzyna Marie Wie

In the world of business, an incubator can be the essential element towards making it with your startup, instead of breaking it.

–  A business incubator is a company that helps startup companies to develop by providing services such as mentoring and office space.

– The BusinessDictionary

When you are new to the startup world, it can be difficult to know what steps to take next. The solution can be to acquire a mentor that can guide you in the early phases of your business. How to get a mentor, you ask? Incubators can provide you with exactly that.

There are a lot of programs you can apply to in order to get your startup going. It is not unusual that these programs include an incubator. The startup, and now second-hand store, Sarah Panter applied to the Climate-KIC Greenhouse pre-incubation programme, which supported the startup with a work station through the incubator NTNU Accel.

–  Here I performed research before opening my store. Others also working in the shared office space were very helpful. I could always ask them anything, says owner Sarah Elise Gjemdal.


A path to a community and capital

The business incubator aims to speed the growth and success of startups and early stage companies. This entails access to a professional and social community oriented towards innovation. Providing an office space that gathers multiple startup business in one location fosters networking among the entrepreneurs. However, the incubators vary in their strategy, and some operate on a virtual basis.

Through the business incubator, the entrepreneur gets access to professional business developers, counselors and investors. With knowledge of the funding opportunities that is out there, they are a good path to capital. Incubators have the knowledge of where and how to apply, either if it is regarding governmental funding or angel investors

The startup Learnlink gives common access to homework tutoring, offering a platform that makes it easy to get in touch with students that can tutor. Their partnership with the incubator StartupLab in Oslo has been essential for the progress of the startup.

–  StartupLab has helped us develop a business from a part-time project to a full-time job. Through the community of entrepreneurs and industry experts, you learn a lot and get useful contacts. If we had continued sitting at home, I think LearnLink would still be a hobby project, says CEO Jonas Hyllseth Ryen.

Admittedly, there is a slight difference between a business incubator and what is called an accelerator, but the terms are often used interchangeably. An accelerator is usually more geared toward startup businesses that are further in the development stage.

We have provided you with a list of incubators located in Norway to the right. Don’t hesitate – contact them and make your startup dream come true!

Check out these Norwegian incubators