10 Industries Benefiting From Incubators

10 Industries Benefiting From Incubators

Paving the way for the next generation of artists and designers: The New Museum’s New Inc incubator in New York City.

Image credit: Naho Kuboto
This story appears in the September 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There was a time when business incubators were largely the domain of early-stage technology companies. Not anymore. According to the National Business Incubation Association, the U.S. houses roughly 1,500 incubators for startups, and an increasing number of them focus on niches (and regions) that were previously overlooked. Whether you need commercial-grade kitchen equipment, intel from music-industry executives or farmers to test your latest agricultural invention, there’s likely an incubator that can help.

Unlike some development programs, which often span just three to four months, many incubators nurture startups for six, 12, 18 months or more. Some incubators offer desks, labs and workshop space in the company of other entrepreneurs; others are virtual. Some offer a set curriculum, complete with sessions or one-on-ones with investors, manufacturers, lawyers, accountants, industry leaders and business coaches; others employ a free-form mentorship model that brings in experts as needed. Some offer free business services; they may even throw in a stipend and housing. Others offer seed capital in exchange for equity or future revenue. 

Beyond all this variety, startups in niche industries have highly specific needs. That’s where the following new U.S. incubators come in. We took a look at 10 of the coolest programs out there helping entrepreneurs in highly specialized sectors.

Art and Design

Creativity unbound: New Inc.
Image Credit: Courtesy of New Museum


Image Credit: Agilvax

Social Enterprise

Image Credit: Shutterstock


Song Suffragettes perform during the 2015 Project Music Startup Showcase at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
Image Credit: Johnathan Jones


Food for thought: KitchenCru in Portland, Ore.
Image Credit: Courtesy of Little Green Pickle

Green Energy


Image Credit: Pixabay

Behavioral Science

Looking ahead: The Startup Lab at Duke’s Center for Advanced Hindsight in Durham, N.C.
Image Credit: Aline Michelle Gr?neisen

Ag Tech

In production: Frank Van Kempen of GrassRoots Energy.
Image Credit: Ronald Reimink

Outdoor Recreation

Getting active: C21 Accelerator in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Image Credit: Tony Drockton
Edition: November 2016

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