What’s in a name? – compare incubator, accelerator, virtual incubator and coworking

This article was featured in The Business Incubator magazine - September 2013
author: Pim de Bokx

“Coworking, hubs, acceleration, clubs and networks,
entrepreneurial learning… Pim de Bokx asks the question – are
business incubators not enough in the current climate?”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare may not have been talking about business incubation, but this quote from Romeo and Juliet can be applied to our industry quite aptly. It’s interesting to see a lot of attention being given to ‘start-up development’ organisations that are not positioned as business incubators. While incubators and incubation have been around for 30 years or more, now, these new hubs, start-up networks, coworking places, virtual incubators, accelerators, etc. seem to be perceived as ‘refreshing’ young alternatives. What is going on? Aren’t they just business incubation programmes in a new guise? Or are they challenging the established business incubator industry with a better approach and/or a better business model? Let’s try to create some order here and look at the three dominant and emerging groups of initiatives: Accelerators, Coworking and Virtual Incubators and see how they compare to business incubators and what we can all learn from each other.

Want to learn more about the differences and similarities? TBI4 – article Whats in a Name – by Pim de Bokx