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10 Industries Benefiting From Incubators

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This story appears in the September 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There was a time when business incubators were largely the domain of early-stage technology companies. Not anymore. According to the National Business Incubation Association, the U.S. houses roughly 1,500 incubators for startups, and an increasing number of them focus on niches (and regions) that were previously overlooked. Whether you need commercial-grade kitchen equipment, intel from music-industry executives or farmers to test your latest agricultural invention, there’s likely an incubator that can help.

Naho Kuboto
Paving the way for the next generation of artists and designers: The New Museum’s New Inc incubator in New York City.

Unlike some development programs, which often span just three to four months, many incubators nurture startups for six, 12, 18 months or more. Some incubators offer desks, labs and workshop space in the company of other entrepreneurs; others are virtual. Some offer a set curriculum, complete with sessions or one-on-ones with investors, manufacturers, lawyers, accountants, industry leaders and business coaches; others employ a free-form mentorship model that brings in experts as needed. Some offer free business services; they may even throw in a stipend and housing. Others offer seed capital in exchange for equity or future revenue. 

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