Building up a company from the ground up isn’t by any stretch of the imagination an easy task. This is why it is especially important for startup founders to seek help to guide them through the tedious and often perilous process of starting and growing a company. In recent years, startup accelerators and startup incubators have become the place of choice for any budding entrepreneurs to be the next unicorn.
Though both startup accelerators and incubators are used to help nurture young companies, the two platforms have subtle differences. Accelerators are mainly focused on helping companies achieve business growth in a short period of time, typically a few months, hence the term “accelerator”. They support young companies by providing mentorship and seed money. Accelerator is the place to get years’ worth of startup knowledge, experiences and resources to grow your business.
Incubators, on the other hand, are focused on building the entrepreneurship foundation of first-time entrepreneurs. During this discovery stage, entrepreneurs get to hone their business skills via training and support while typically no equity is taken from them. It lasts longer than an accelerator, usually 6 months to a year.
Both startup incubators and accelerates can provide valuable assistance in the growth and development of an early-stage business. Although there are numerous acceleration and incubation programs out there, getting into one can be difficult let alone finding the right one for you.
To improve your chance of getting recruited, here are four of the best websites to apply for these elusive programs globally.
Founded in 2010, the website aims to assist new entrepreneurs by helping them grow their businesses by offering assistance in sourcing capital and talent. It also makes it easier for angel investors to find good investment opportunities. With hundreds of incubation and acceleration programs listed on the site, a startup founder can easily find the best program to apply for.
Based out of San Francisco with offices in Santiago (Chile) and Munich (Germany), YouNoodle showcases startup competitions and programs from around the world since 2010. The website is great for matching startups with the right competitions, accelerators or startup programs via its simple filtering feature. The platform also provides a judging and voting system to governments, nonprofit organizations, colleges and enterprise customers who are planning innovation challenges and contests. I happened to be one of the judges for the Colossus Inno 2017 competition that awarded $100,000 grand prize to BluSense Diagnostics from Denmark. I must say the user experience is pretty intuitive to use. YouNoodle is also known for running competitions from prestigious institutions such as NASA, Stanford’s BASES or Amazon startup.
Founded in 2011 and based out of London, F6S is one of the world’s largest founders’ online communities with over 2.7 million of them in their database. The site provides a platform for founders, investors and institutions to interact by creating profiles on the site. The site is easy to navigate and lists many acceleration programs, contests and events. It sorts the programs by type, location and also details the information of all the acceleration and incubation programs listed.
Gust is probably the oldest living online platform that connects global startup founders with prospective investors. Started in 2004, it has helped over 500,000 startup founders to receive seed money and has raised over $1 billion in investment capital for them. All a startup founder needs to do to get connected is to build a profile and share it with investors on the site. Entrepreneurs can also easily find and apply for open accelerator programs on the site.
Melvin Wong is the founder of Kodorra who educates entrepreneurs to run their businesses with the least cost possible. He’s an award-winning entrepreneur with global business experience in 17 countries covering U.S, Europe, Asia and South America. Melvin sold his online sports games company to an American/Japanese company in 2016. Melvin embodies the “pay it forward” principle where he was a speaker, mentor and judge at numerous entrepreneurship programs and competitions.