Business Incubator Management
We understand how challenging it can be to design a Business Incubator, never mind run one!
The Acorn Enterprise team has developed and run several Business Incubators.
We are a small and diverse team with experience in providing Business Incubators, entrepreneurship education, and in designing, creating and managing co-working facilities.
Oh and by the way we’re not huge fans of semantics, so we use the phrase “Business Incubator” but it can also be called: a “Business Accelerator”, “Enterprise Hub” or “Student Enterprise Zone”!
Designing your Business Incubator
When designing your Business Incubator, there are so many things to consider.
Like most work environments, people spend a lot of time together so the space and vibe must allow productive work to take place. This is achieved with careful space design and the use of clever technology. Just as important to know what to include there are also things you need to avoid if you want the space to work and deliver results for everyone.
Running your Business Incubator
Team Acorn has visited a number of “Business Incubators” over the years and there are many interpretations of what is the right environment! Some are truly exceptional, the sort of space energises you and that you want to be in! Others are a waste of space (quite literally!). A ‘Business Incubator’ or a “Business Accelerator” is not a spare room with a few sticks of furniture and a hi-tech TV flung in! Oh, and the sporadic visit by a “business support agency”.
Acorn Enterprise does things differently. We don’t boost our egos by buying expensive office equipment or other frivolous items that don’t make a difference to startups. Every penny we spend goes directly into helping the new businesses we work with to grow.
Just providing new businesses or enterprising students with a space is not enough on its own!
Business Incubators also need: a real community of peers that are going through the same journey, a structured programme, mentors and seminars. And here’s the really important bit, we passionately believe that to truly deliver exception results, this should be delivered by people who have actually run a business before.
There can be a lot of other questions: How do you co-ordinate activities in the Business Incubator? What sort of topics would make the most difference? Do you charge for the space or not? How do you monitor usage? How long should people be given access to the Incubator? Is the Business Incubator just for Students, or should staff and the wider community have access too?
A Wee Bit More About What We Can Do Together
Since 2013, we have been leaders in enterprise!
Our team have designed and facilitated Business Incubators and Accelerators across multiple locations, on campus and in the private sector, for many years.
We have helped well over 100 startups through these Incubators!
Acorn Enterprise have also worked with lots of Colleges and Universities to embed Enterprise, Innovation and Entrepreneurship...*cough* "Future Skills!"
Our approach brings energy, passion and practical experience, gained from actually running and growing our own businesses.
We work with new business owners to develop:
- Business skills.
And we achieve this by providing:
- The right environment for collaboration and networking.
- A structured, intensive seminar Programme to develop and challenge.
- A business mentor, who provides accountability, and much, more!
Over the last five years, we have been excited to work with several Colleges and Universities who share our passion for enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship including many Institutions across the UK such as Edinburgh Business School, Fife College, St. Andrews University, Anglia Ruskin University and Kingston College.
We have a suite of activities that we can deliver for both staff and students.
Our goal is to not only inspire, but give students the practical tools and mindset, to launch a new venture or add value as an entrepreneurially-minded employee. This can take place over a one or two-day Acorn Business Bootcamp, running enterprise masterclasses or by providing a fully immersive Business Incubator.
Acorn Enterprise also work with staff to help them foster a real culture of enterprise and innovation at their institution. This is our “train the trainer” service, where we work with teaching staff to help them to appreciate enterprise, develop their enterprise skills and leave them with practical actions and a toolkit they can implement with their students.
Did we mention that we’ve also won several awards for our work?!...
This includes: being featured on the Sunday Times Maserati 100 List 2016, being selected as Scotland's Enterprise Champion for Startup Britain, achieving Virgin Media's Pioneer of the Week, nominated as Scotland's 40 UNDER 40 List and many more!