Incubators. Who Needs Them And How Successful Are They?

Incubators. Who Needs Them And How Successful Are They?

From VenturesAfrica. Story by Morgan McClain-McKinney.

Incubators have been exploding across the African continent over the last decade, aiming to maximize economic opportunity, especially for youth, where traditional employment has become less and less accessible.

Now as many of these hubs have pushed out their first cadres of bankable businesses, it is time to measure their success, or rather their utility…

The major challenge with measuring the success of an incubator is that incubators are typically measured by the number of “graduates” they have, or more simply the number startups that leave their services because they received an investment or other follow-on support.

If a startup successfully exits an incubator, there’s still a likelihood for failure so perhaps a more accurate way to track incubator success is to see the number of graduates still operating after three-to-five years of leaving the incubator.

However, in many emerging markets, including in sub-Saharan Africa, a lot of incubators (in their current form) are less than 5 years old, so that metric isn’t yet available.

…A number of incubators on the continent have indeed proven to be successful, as they continue to grow and expand. The Co-creation Hub  in Nigeria, BongoHive in Zambia, iHub in Kenya, Hivecolab in Uganda, and JoziHub in South Africa are a few examples, though new incubators are popping up everyday.

The space has become quite crowded.  As a young entrepreneur it can be difficult to sort through them, and figure out which is best for their business. However, though entrepreneurs seem to be spoiled for choice with regard to incubators, just as many incubators are disappearing. Much like any innovative enterprise,  failure rates are high.

Read more at VenturesAfrica.