There is a wealth of support out their for students and graduates who are starting a business. Its important to use the system to your advantage, so below we set out the path you should take in moving you business through the start-ups stages.
This typically aimed at entrepreneurial students who will utilise a designated and specially designed space to conceive, launch, and “hatch” their own independent businesses. Normally there will be a series of adhoc events, networking and awareness raising activities which are supported by business counselling and academic advising. Examples:
- UK – http://www.shu.ac.uk/employability/self-employed/hatchery/
- USA – http://www.carlsonschool.umn.edu/holmes-center/programs/undergraduate-business-hatchery.html
Key Things to look for?
- Networking opportunities
- Access to early stage businesses
- Development of enterprising skills
A set of events or a week long course which gets you to work on and around your business. These force you to think about the key aspects of the business model, marketing, sales, operations, finance, legal and financial aspect of your business. The programme should help set the plan for the business. These are normally free (you will have to fill in some forms) to attend and offered through universities and support agencies. Key Things to look for?
- A intensive programme covering topics above
- Mentoring with a local mentor
- Follow through support
- Business Start-up Success rate (should be greater than 50% after one year)
- UK – http://www.b-seen.biz/
- USA – http://online.stanford.edu/course/startup-engineering
- Asia –
A physical space which is dedicated to start-ups and early stage businesses. Businesses apply with a feasible business plan which supports the funding of the place and support over a period of time. A portfolio of support is provided through a adhoc series of engagements with external “interested” parties, such as mentor, legal advice and funders. Normally providing the physical elements to start a business including hot desking, serviced offices and internet. Key Things to look for?
- Number of events
- Types of business
- Size of business, you want those of the same size or a little bigger which shows they can help this size of business
- Wifi Access and Speed
- Spaces for quick meeting, chats and brainstorming
- UK – http://www.innospace.co.uk/
- USA – http://techtowndetroit.org/
- Asia – http://incubate.org.au/incubator/
These are normally national or regional scheme which take normally trading businesses which have further potential and up skills, network and re-organised the business to be able to take advantage of that potential. They have a mixture of fixed programmes and adhoc support which accumadates the business, at its stage and sector. Key Things to look for?
- Number of current businesses
- Number of staff and their networks
- Location to other clusters of start-ups you need
- Mentorship programme,
- Alumni : Number and size of the businesses
- UK – http://www.entrepreneurial-spark.com/the-accelerator.aspx
- USA – http://startx.stanford.edu/accelerator
- Asia – http://angelcube.com/
Seed Investment Programme
These open investment programmes offer early-stage investment to entrepreneurs who are looking to develop new ventures. The programmes provide funding and support to help entrepreneurs nurture, develop and test their ideas. They normally last 10 to 13 weeks programme of skills development, networking and investment injection. The majority of these provide each entrant up to £15,000 to £20k of investment capital. Key Things to look for?
- Support for similar or complementary business sectors
- Make sure the investors know something about your industry
- Check their success rate based on increased business valuation
- How many in the portfolio and how many successful exits from portfolio
- Do you ready need the money
- Have you considered other sources of funding
Investment Ready Advancement
Research has shown that it can take up to 18 months on average for enterprises to become “investment ready”. The majority of businesses which are within an investment route need more than 20k and therefore they need to become investment ready before taking on 500k plus. Therefore this stage is about getting the company ready for significant investment. Key Things to look for?
- Are able to share control of your business
- Have you analysed the right type of investor for your business
- Have you a clear idea of what stage your business has reached