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. Delayed by COVID, the Palm Desert iHub will now celebrate its grand opening in the fall of 2021 and an Indio iHub pilot program is 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 iHub.
The Triple Bottom Line
The Palm Springs iHub was founded as a business incubator with an original focus on clean and renewable energy. Since its founding, its focus has expanded, and now includes digital technologies and consumer goods. But although the focus has widened, 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 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 the iHub or Accelerator Campus, you’ll benefit from not being tied to a long-term lease, but be prepared to pay rent.
- If successful, how big can my business realistically get? We offer support to entrepreneurs because entrepreneurs create jobs, and 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 Springs iHub, Palm Desert iHub, or Indio iHub, we invite you to contact us for a screening interview and an application.