Company selection and graduation are critical to a successful incubator. The screening process will be customized to meet the incubator’s mission and ensure the firms selected can benefit from its value-added services.
The application process for prospective incubator firms involves two to three steps. The application process should be completed within about three weeks.
Step 1: Complete Application – All prospective firms would complete a brief application form. A completed application provides the General Manager with a brief description of the applicant’s current business status, and a very preliminary sense of the applicant’s service and facility needs.
Step 2: Provide business description and Business Plan – Prospective firms that complete Step 1 and are determined to be a potentially eligible company would be required to augment their application with a business plan. The General Manager would review the document. It should provide more in-depth information about the stage of business development, caliber of the management team, market potential, and overall potential for success. At this point, if the business plan adequately addresses screening criteria the General Manager could approve the applicant for the next step.
Step 3: Present to Incubator Panel – The prospective firm would present their business case to a small panel of three to four people including the General Manager. The panel’s role is to assist the General Manager in the business case at hand and to determine if the applicant should be approved for acceptance into the incubator. Steps 1 to 3 would normally take three to four months.