Did you know that Florida is considered one of the most lucrative states for starting a new business or startup? This is because Florida is an economic powerhouse, with booming tourism industry and a growing collective of small businesses & startups looking to make a name for themselves in the industry. One way these businesses are able to scale up and expand so quickly is due to the wide array of incubator and accelerator spaces available for businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs in the Florida area. Today, we’ll explain what these spaces are, how they’re used for businesses; and what spaces your business can use in Florida.
Incubators & Accelerators: What are They and What’s the Difference?
So, what is the exact difference between these two spaces? An incubator space, or business incubator; is any program designed for early-stage businesses in order to give them access to mentors, possible financial investors, and support them in assisting these startups in establishing themselves. Business incubators typically work best when utilized during the founding of a business and within the first year. Afterward, many businesses will change their programs to a business accelerator for further support.
Accelerator programs work a bit differently. Accelerators are often on a set schedule and are designed to provide further mentorship and achieve results or business goals within a specific time period. They may also provide seed investments, work and office spaces, intensive mentorship & networking opportunities. Additionally, they’ll provide coaching on how to improve your business’s overall development.
Incubators & Accelerators in Florida
- Goldstein Accelerator
Located in Orlando, Goldstein Accelerator is an 18-month accelerator program geared towards all sorts of business sectors. Primarily, they deal with technology startups and provide them with resources and mentorship to help them capture new customers, generate leads, and amass the capital resources needed to expand and scale up their businesses. The Goldstein Accelerator provides funding of up to $100,000 and also hosts regular workshops involving networking, marketing, and product development; among other important business skills.
While most Accelerators aim to help established businesses continue their growth, Groundswell does things a little differently. Their 10-week program is designed to serve ‘idea stage’ businesses and provides them with the framework & business models to build sustainable streams of revenue, evaluate their market presence and how to capture their target audiences, and mentor these idea stage businesses with professional industry knowledge.
- SMART Start
Our first incubator program on the list, SMART Start empowers early-stage businesses & startups and assists them with moving forward and scaling up their business. While it may be a 2-3 year course which some might consider a long period of time, having a program run by industry experts behind you during the first few years of your business could be a huge deciding factor in your businesses’ overall success. They also offer office spaces, access to equipment & technology, and the opportunity to network and build relationships with other industry professionals.
- Florida Business Incubator
The Florida Business Incubator operates a program designed to empower small business owners & entrepreneurs through the use of mentors, networking opportunities, advocacy programs, and strategic business education plans. It allows its attendees to grow their skills while discovering new streams of revenue for their business and how to integrate themselves in the Florida economic ecosystem.
Co:Lab is based out of Pensacola, Florida, and combines the best of both worlds in terms of incubator & accelerator programs. Their program combines the two concepts for small, medium-sized, and entrepreneur-run businesses to provide mentorship, collaborative business opportunities, and partnerships, co-working spaces & dedicated desks for your team, and fundraising from a variety of local angel investors in the Pensacola area. This innovative approach teaches Co:Lab businesses about sustainability and other important business qualities which can help with long-term success.
- The Millaway Institute for Entrepreneurship
Located near Florida’s Gulf Coast State College, the Millaway Institute for Entrepreneurship is designed for aspiring businesses & entrepreneurs and allows them to learn about exploring new business ideas, how to launch products & services, and access advanced technology such as 3D Printers for interactive lessons related to running your business. They can also provide help with patenting and trademarking for your business and other essential resources and paperwork.