Accelerators vs. Incubators: What’s the Difference?

accelerator vs incubator

Whether you’re in the ideation, development, or growth stage of your new business, each faces its own set of unique challenges. Being a young startup or business isn’t always easy. It requires everything from funding to legal support to a strong team to keep everything afloat.

This is why many startups turn to accelerators or incubators as a resource. They are helpful for not only keeping you afloat, but giving you an extra push towards growth and development. Despite the fact that the two terms are often used interchangeably, accelerators and incubators are slightly different. The program you choose will be based on where your startup is in the growth stage.

Startup accelerators help provide resources to startups or businesses that can sustain themselves, but are looking to grow or raise additional money. Accelerators are typically saved for startups that have reached multiple milestones and are ready to move to the next stage of their business.

Startup incubators typically help provide resources in the ideation stage. These programs range from venture capitalist firms to universities or philanthropists. They are helpful if you are just beginning to bring an idea to life and give it validity in the market.

Whether you decide to enroll or sign up with one of these programs, it’s helpful to keep in mind that it may require giving up equity in your business. However, the pros may outweigh the cons depending on your startup goals, priorities, or road map thus far. These programs can offer you mentors or network opportunities, complimentary office space, or necessary legal support.

Wherever you are in the growth stage, if you’re looking for support, check out an interactive table Embroker put together of over 160 startup accelerators and incubators around the world.

Sort by criteria such as country, funding, mentorship, legal support, office space, or demo day to find the program that works best for your startup. The program you decide on will depend on your unique needs, what’s important for your team, or where you need support.

The infographic below is provided courtesy of


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