4 things you need to consider before launching your incubation program

Words by

Multimedia Reporter

While the Philippines is blessed with many budding entrepreneurs offering innovative solutions, the reality is that most are lacking experience and connections. This is where incubators come in: providing a nurturing environment to help startups get off the ground through mentorship and access to resources and network.

More and more institutions are creating their own incubators—even yours included, perhaps. But before you launch, what important factors must you consider? Rosstyn Fallorina, QBO Innovation Hub’s senior program lead for ecosystem development, shares four:

Timeline

It may seem like an obvious consideration, but the simple act of determining the length of your program and setting deadlines can help you run your program more definitively and efficiently.

“You need to see the timeline of your program so you can see how long you can allot for your selection process,” Fallorina said.

Your target market

Different groups have a different set of needs, so it’s vital to pinpoint which one you want to help. Crafting a program for women entrepreneurs, for example, might take a very different direction from one that’s catered towards students.

Opening your program to a specific startup stage only could also help you hone in further. Early-stage startups often have more time and are less choosy with activities. But they also have less business experience and need more guidance. Mature startups lie on the opposite end of the spectrum, already having a clearer idea of their needs but unable to commit their time to things outside their core business operations.

When QBO decided to focus their program on mature startups, they made sure that it would mesh well with their work life. “We didn’t ask them to go to QBO every week so that they could update us and attend workshops or seminars, since we knew that they have a lot of other things to worry about,” said Fallorina. “We didn’t want to give a lot of responsibilities to them.”

Selection processes and methods

If all goes well and you do your research, you should be able to draw in a ton of startup applications for you to choose from, and nearly as many selection processes to choose among them with.

Whether it’s an online form, a panel interview, or a mix of both, what’s important is that your processes are designed to get what you’re looking for.

“For example, if we do a competition, we might just do an online assessment, choose the startups, and then they pitch to the partners or panel,” said Fallorina. “Or for a bootcamp, it can just potentially be one-on-one interviews. It really depends on your program and your needs as an organization.”

Your program’s strengths, gaps, and offerings

As the adage goes, “know thyself”—or in this case, know your program’s strengths and limitations. Doing so will not only guide your team but also the startups that you could potentially be helping.

“A lot of the startups throughout the process will be asking, ‘What can you help us with? Who can you connect us with?’” said Fallorina. “They’ll be selecting from different programs. This is one way for them to figure out, ‘Okay, this program is for me at my stage and my needs.’”







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