What is business incubation?

Business incubators provide support to start-ups and established businesses. From one-man-shows to SMMEs.

Start-ups and micro businesses typically require assistance with setting up management systems, require a clearer understanding of what their business is actually about and assistance with access to funding and more. To establish what the needs of the business are and to determine if the business idea is viable first-time incubatees are pre-incubated.  At Propella incubatees are typically paired with hand-picked business mentors who meet regularly and provide advice and industry specific expertise. Propella Incubator has a step-by-step process that prepares start-ups for incubation.

All businesses face growth or innovation hurdles at some point. SMMEs can benefit from assitance with access to markets and large scale funding opportunities. Support for technological innovation can be facilitated by Propella.

Some incubatees need to be provided with a physical space such as an office or workshop. Other incubatees already have physical infrastructure and these kinds of businesses require only virtual incubation. Virtual incubation simply implies that the business does not infrastructural support. Here is more information about virtual incubation at Propella.

The point of incubation is to provide a platform that supports the objectives of a business. Whether it is growing the business, solving a technological or market related problem the idea is to walk the business through these processes.

Propella does not provide direct financial support except in a limited form to businesses in the pre-incubation phase of the process. However, Propella has an extensive network of funding within government and industry. The incubator will provide support for business plans and funding application processes.


Understanding the Propella Application Process

Propella incubation application process diagram

Do I qualify for incubation?

All applications for incubation are considered on a case-by-case basis. Here are some questions that you can ask about your own business determine if incubation is an option.

Is your business/idea unique or are their lots of competitors in the market already? Doing something slightly different to your competitors does not always mean that the idea or process is unique. We are looking to support businesses that have the potential to standout from the crowd or that can add value to their communities or contribut to economic growth.

Is the the idea, process or widget protectable in terms of copyright or patent? If not then comeptitors can quickly replicate your approach and you will only have a very small window of opprtuinty to exploit the advantage of being first to market. Propella is looking to provide short term support to businesses with long term potential.

Have you tested the idea in the market? All entrepreneurs believe they have a winning idea. Sometimes very basic testing using basic protypes or questionnaires will give you a very clear indication of your chances for commercial success. If the feedback is positive then incubation may be a viable option to get commercial production or service delivery off the ground.

Do you have an existing product that will grow sales if you have access to other regions or countries? Propella can assist in exposing your product to other markets via government intiatives or marketing intiatives.

Does your existing business require expert advice or technical assitance? Business owners often find that they like a skillset that the business desparately needs in order to grow. Sometimes there is a problem in the business that you can't figure out or that you cannot afford. Propella may be able to provide affordable expertise or technical or logistical solutions.

To join the Propella Incubator apply here.

Benefits of being a Propella incubatee

Companies that are accepted into Propella enjoy a dramatically improved success rate as they are nurtured through early development years.

Support includes:

  • Reduced barriers to entry
    The incubator environment provides an “easy start” for emerging companies by providing affordable office space, access to shared equipment, meeting facilities, and on-site business and technical assistance. This lowers the overhead and operating costs during critical formative years.
  • Networking and mentoring
    Propella facilitates a “know-how” network to address incubatee’s unique needs for partnerships, suppliers, and/or potential sources of capital.
  • Increased visibility and stature
    Propella significantly increases visibility and presence of incubatees in the marketplace and advances their success potential. Admission to Propella implies an endorsement that enhances the stature of a company and increases their chances of securing funding.
  • Improved ability to access finance and growth capital
    Propella helps incubatees in their presentations to funding institutions. The qualifying Incubatees also have access to Engeli’s loan and Venture Capital Funds.
  • Improved sustainability and growth potential
    Ultimately the company’s nurtured through the Propella are more sustainable and profitable, and have the ability to generate wealth and jobs.