It may happen that one day we have a light bulb moment, visualise a project and want to move it forward, but we do not have adequate resources. In addition to the dreaded funding, we will also require professional support to help define our idea. Just like when a person begins their career they need role models and mentors to support them in the early stages, a startup requires a boost from accelerators and incubators to get it off the ground.
Usually, the two concepts tend to blend in when we refer to the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem, but there are nuances that differentiate them. The main thing is that access to one or the other depends on the point at which a project is at, as explained by the Invest in Spain report by the ICEX.
The aim of incubators is to launch the first phase of a startup, providing tools such as an initial seed capital that can help to measure whether the idea is viable. While this new company is in gestation, both the business model and its target audience are assessed, as well as its prospects for the first year.
Accompaniment at this prime stage is key to starting on a high thanks to technical and financial support, which also includes digital training and mentoring.
With accelerators, the difference is that these are directed at those entrepreneurs who are ready to go to the market. Their plan is already consolidated, but they need a final push and this is where accelerators have an essential role to play.
Their role is to provide transformative ideas, as well as to protect and promote implementation to ensure its success.
Using these initiatives forms part of a beneficial initiatory process within the entrepreneurial universe. They are inspiring spaces that give freshness and security, and being able to access them allows people to apply innovative solutions and also to expand their network of contacts.
In the case of MAPFRE’s insur_space, the platform operates as an incubator and accelerator, as its transversal support for open innovation provides a space for all creators to produce ideas that will have a positive impact, regardless of whether their career is just beginning or if they already have an established idea. In order to do this, it has an acceleration programme and an adoption programme.
Within the first programme, it is possible to get mentoring from experts. Mentoring is led by coaches – professionals who advise those who are embarking on this adventure to encourage the creation of prototypes in companies that are in their early stages. The second program, meanwhile, offers more consolidated startups the ability to make commercial pilots with MAPFRE’s various business lines.
We can conclude that in the DNA of both incubators and accelerators is a desire to encourage entrepreneurs who are pursuing innovation. In all of them flow business ideas that some time down the line may be successful. There is no better or worse option – access to one of these initiatives simply depends on the stage of the project, but going through one of them is a great way to land an idea or to give the definitive impulse that a brand new startup or one that is in the gestation stage needs.