When an entrepreneur or a small business comes to us for assistance, the first step is determining what type of assistance is really needed. Because the iHub program receives a fair amount of publicity, many assume that they should apply to the iHub as the mandatory first step on a path to success.

For some companies, this is true. Since its inception in 2011, the Palm Springs iHub has enthusiastically provided support to nearly 80 local companies. And building from the program’s success in Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley iHub network is expanding. The Indio iHub shares space with the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, and officially opened in February 2020. The Palm Desert iHub celebrated its grand opening in November 2021. All locations within the Coachella Valley iHub network are currently accepting applications. However, the iHub program is not a fit for every entrepreneur, nor for every type of business. Read on to find out more about what it takes to apply – and be accepted – to the Palm Desert iHub, Indio iHub, or Palm Springs iHub.

The Triple Bottom Line

The original Palm Springs iHub was founded as a business incubator with a focus on clean and renewable energy. Since its founding, its focus has expanded, and now includes digital technologies and consumer goods. The Palm Desert iHub is uniquely suited to tech-based startups; it boasts some of the fastest internet speeds in the Coachella Valley thanks to its connection to CENIC. The Indio iHub boasts proximity to some of the richest agricultural lands in the nation as well as one of the world’s preeminent music and arts festivals, making it especially appealing to innovators in agricultural or entertainment technologies.

Athough the focus has widened and Valley-wide locations have been added, one thing remains firm: a triple-bottom-line focus on People, Profit, and Planet. Products should solve a real problem and do so at a reasonable price that still allows for profitability. And even those with appealing product ideas might be turned down when there are concerns about sustainability.

Things to Think About

Although iHub incubator companies operate in numerous industries, there are common factors that we look for in all applicants. Before you apply to the Palm Desert iHub, Indio iHub, or Palm Springs iHub, think about the following:

  • Is my business or business idea truly innovative? If your idea is truly innovative, you may want to consider protecting your intellectual property. We aren’t attorneys, but we will give you a businessperson’s opinion on whether this is something you should consider. Be very wary of those who offer to help you patent your invention for a fee. Scam artists abound!
  • Do I have the potential to launch my business or commercialize my product within three years? Most people work on product commercialization while also working a full-time job. Only you can decide if you have the stamina to dedicate time to both.
  • Do I take advice well? The primary purpose of being a part of any business incubator is to receive guidance. If you don’t take advice well, you do not need the assistance of an incubator.
  • Do I need office or warehouse space? At any given time, some iHub portfolio companies need space to operate, and some don’t. If you need to rent a dedicated space at an iHub location, you’ll benefit from not being tied to a long-term lease, but be prepared to pay some rent.
  • If successful, how big can my business realistically get, and what types of jobs will be created? We offer support to entrepreneurs because entrepreneurs create jobs, and high-quality jobs help to elevate our regional economy. If your goal is to create a small business that will only support you and your immediate family, there are better-suited resources to assist you. We can refer you to them.

Is the iHub a Fit For You?

Starting a business or commercializing a novel product requires a great deal of patience, research, and planning. It often requires a fair amount of money, as well (though the iHub does not charge for its basic services). If, after reading this, you think you might benefit from the long-term business guidance offered by the professionals at the Palm Desert iHub, Indio iHub, or Palm Springs iHub, we invite you to contact us for a screening interview and an application.