The goal of any entrepreneur is to leave a business incubator programme with their business bigger and better than when they went into it. While an incubator’s programme will have a lot to do with achieving this – by providing access to resources and possible funding – most entrepreneurs underestimate how much of their time and resources they will have to invest to achieve the growth they seek.
It’s best that entrepreneurs join a business incubator with their eyes open, says Chantal de Kock, General Manager at Fetola Business Development Professionals.
“Ultimately, they must know what they are signing up for, determine if it matches their needs and if they are able and willing to commit to the programme requirements,” says de Kock. She has 15 years’ experience in the development sector and is passionate about people development and female entrepreneurship.
De Kock shares 5 financial and time commitments that entrepreneurs can expect when they enter an incubation programme.
1. Monthly reporting on key performance indicators – often this is underestimated i.e. the amount of time and admin it takes.
2. Time out office to attend workshops and networking events.
3. Some incubators charge for certain services, for example consultant interventions and workshop registration fees. They must understand these requirements upfront before joining a programme.
4. Time out of office to attend mentorship sessions, often these are on and off-site, so costs may be incurred.
5. Entrepreneurs must understand exactly which costs are covered by the programme, often they will have access to services such as graphic design or media services, but the printing and placement costs may be for their own account.
About Fetola: The organisation are leaders in business growth, with a decade of experience in the field of incubator management and enterprise development. Businesses enrolled in Fetola programmes typically achieve an annual growth rate of 47.2% per business. Their long-term survival rate (tracked over ten years) is 87.4%, almost five times the national average. Fetola’s sector expertise ranges from agriculture and mining to financial services and manufacturing. Sustainable business, including energy, waste and water are also strong focus areas. Fetola’s accelerator programmes include SAB Tholoana Enterprise Programme, Groundswell and Waste to Wing.