Should we turn to business incubators and gas pedals?

Generally speaking, business incubators and gas pedals are designed for innovative companies, and are ideally suited to start-ups. Are you still at the project stage? The incubator, as its name suggests, will help you to mature your project and verify its relevance and viability. If you've already launched your start-up and want to develop it quickly, then a business gas pedal is the place to be. Let's take a closer look at the differences between these two structures and their advantages.

The business incubator

Incubators owe their creation to the July 1999 "Allègre Law" on research and innovation. Its aim was to create structures capable of fostering the creation of innovative companies.

There are different types of incubators:

  • Public incubators whose aim is to help transfer technologies developed in public research laboratories to the private sector. Between 2000 and 2017, over 4,500 innovative business projects benefited from the support of these incubators (31% in healthcare, 37% in ICT, 28% in engineering sciences and 4% in human and social sciences).
  • Incubators attached to leading business schools (HEC, ESCP, etc.) or engineering schools (Polytechnique, Centrale, etc.).
  • Incubators set up by local authorities to promote the local economy.
  • CEEI (Centre européen d'entreprise et d'innovation) incubators, found in most major cities (Paris, Marseille, Lyon, etc.).
  • Private incubators set up by companies or professional associations.

The main missions of a business incubator

Incubators offer future innovative companies accommodation at more affordable rates than those available on the market, combined with the provision of equipment and services.

Not all incubators offer identical services, but their missions generally revolve around the same themes:

  • Personalized support (help with setting up a business model and business plan, choice of legal structure, etc.).
  • Presentations by experts in various fields.
  • Contacts with potential investors or partners.

When and how to join an incubator?

Joining an incubator requires time for reflection, as you need to be sure you're ready to present a project with a good chance of success. Candidates for integration come from a wide variety of backgrounds. You may meet students who have just finished their studies, or employees who have been thinking about their project for some time, and are taking advantage of a contractual redundancy scheme to start a career change.

Incubator selection procedures vary from one organization to another. That's why you need to find out before applying to the one that seems best suited to your project. In most incubators, you will be asked to submit a complete application. If you are shortlisted, it's time to convince a panel of judges in an oral presentation.

The business gas pedal

While a stay in an incubator can last up to 3 years, the same cannot be said of a gas pedal, where the duration often varies between 2 and 6 months. This makes sense, since accelerators are designed for companies that have already gone through the start-up phase and want to develop their business rapidly. Some gas pedals are open to very young companies, while others only accept companies that have been registered for more than three years.

The missions of a business gas pedal

They're very similar to those of an incubator, but on a different level. The aim is no longer to create your own company, but to ensure your autonomy and accelerate your growth. This type of structure helps you develop your product or service offering, access markets, identify your needs and find financing.

How do I find a business gas pedal?

There are generalist gas pedals, where you'll find companies from a wide range of sectors. Other gas pedals are specialized (aeronautics, wood, chemicals, fashion and luxury goods, agri-food). They'll only admit you if you're a good fit for their theme. The advantage of these structures is that they enable you to rub shoulders with entrepreneurs facing the same problems as you.