Business accelerators and incubators are a common service and term known by entrepreneurs and startups alike. By providing terrific opportunities and resources to founding teams, many seek to join one when looking to grow their business quickly and efficiently.
Recently, there has been an increase in a new type of business accelerators, referred to as virtual business accelerators – an online alternative to accelerators and incubators providing mentorship, venture capital, networking opportunities and access to technologies and infrastructure..
But what exactly is the difference between a typical business accelerator and a virtual one? Does either provide advantages that the other doesn’t? And why are virtual business accelerators becoming such an attractive option to both new and experiences entrepreneurs?
We take a closer look at this expanding trend.
What Is A Virtual Business Accelerator?
First, let’s dive into what exactly is a virtual business accelerator. Given an overview, virtual business accelerators are offering the same things as your typical business accelerator – however there’s a twist. With typical business accelerators, while a startup can receive a fast-track solution towards accelerating their reach, they often come with a pretty hefty fee, along with some major hand holding.
This isn’t always an attractive option, especially for more experienced entrepreneurs who might be seeking help, but are looking for a less all-encompassing hands-on support system.
Enter virtual business accelerators. With a virtual business accelerator, entrepreneurs are able to receive the type of guidance they need to get their startup off the ground, by choosing from a variety of “mix-and-match” options offered by the virtual accelerator. This allows entrepreneurs and startups to have more control over, not only what services they want help with, but also the fee they will have to pay.
Virtual business accelerators are all about giving entrepreneurs and startups the resources they need to execute their ideas, providing them with experience and virtual workplaces that will help save them time, which will lead to proper execution of their business. This can range from a number of services, including but not limited to, active mentorship, fundraising guidance, online marketing advice, or public relations assistance.
What Can a Virtual Business Accelerator Offer My Business?
Overall, a virtual business accelerator can offer all the same things a typical accelerator can, just virtually. This can include the following:
- Clarification and evolution if your business model,
- support with accessing suppliers and distribution networks,
- Digital presence development and management (website, Social media etc),
- Revenue & profit generation,
- Access to targeted business networking,
- Leadership training,
- Revenue stream creation,
- Accounting and auditing services,
- Company reinvigoration or reinvention,
- Powerful marketing creation & promotion,
- Productivity improvement,
- Employee attraction & retention of talented individuals,
- Financial engineering,
- Technology performance improvement,
- Management of team performance,
- Research, development & technology deployment cycle,
- Much more
Why Are More Entrepreneurs Choosing Virtual Business Accelerators?
Simply put, entrepreneurs and startups are choosing the services of a virtual business accelerator over a typical business accelerator for two main reasons: convenience and cost.
With the growing popularity of “lean startups” and many entrepreneurs building up more than one business in their career, virtual business accelerators are able to provide the exact services a startup needs to accelerate their growth, without too much hand-holding or burdening fees. This makes virtual business accelerators more accessible to more startups that might not be able to pay the traditional fees of a standard business accelerator.
Additionally, since the business accelerators are virtual, a startup or entrepreneur can join one from virtually anywhere. This opens up the possibility of connecting with the exact virtual business accelerator that is the perfect fit for the business, rather than being limited to those that are in a startup’s local area.
As like most industries, this movement to a virtual-version of an already popular service is a natural progression and we expect to see the growing popularity of them to continue to rise.