5 Reasons Why Incubators are so Popular for SMBs

With the popularity of telecommuting and startup businesses, many people are finding that they no longer need a traditional brick and mortar office with all of the expenses that come with it. Instead, these people are turning to business incubators, a place where people can work with other people and receive the support services, work space, networking opportunities, training, and financial freedom they need to succeed.

Business incubators provide a laundry list of benefits to anyone who joins one; however, they’re extremely beneficial to SMBs who simply don’t have the knowledge, tools, or resources to take their companies to the next level. Check out the five reasons why business incubators are so popular for SMBs.

Work Space

Sometimes your business doesn’t require a brick and mortar office, but working at home or from a coffee shop can become mundane after a while. Business incubators provide coworking space that people find beneficial. These provide a shared working environment that allows people to be surrounded by other individuals and receive all the perks of an office, such as a printer, Wi-Fi, phone, conference rooms, and much more.

Support Services

When SMBs use a business incubator, they can receive support services that would otherwise be unobtainable or too expensive. Instead, you can rely on the other individuals in the business incubator to provide the support services you need, or you and the others can share on the expense of marketing, business insurance, legal, or other services that may be required.

Networking Opportunities

Every successful businessperson knows that networking is essential. With a business incubator, there are so many networking possibilities, which is why they will just continue to grow. Individuals using business incubators have easy access to successful entrepreneurs, financial professionals, or others that can help them boost their business. Plus, many incubators also host events, which provides even more opportunity for networking.


Receiving the right training is important to continue taking your business further. However, sometimes this training can be too expensive or unavailable if trying to secure it on your own. However, with a business incubator, you can have access to training. Sometimes the incubator will provide training for certain topics or programs, or you can feed off the training from the other people you’re working with. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

Financial Freedom

One of the biggest benefits of a business incubator is that SMBs receive financial freedom. Instead of trying to find the money to spend on rent, and instead of spending money on training, networking, and support services, as well as employee salaries and other business expenses, they receive all of this with a business incubator. This can significantly reduce the amount of money your business will spend, allowing you to either reinvest it back into your business or use it for profits.

The other financial benefit of business incubators is the help in securing future loans. Many incubators have built relationships with people looking to invest in business, and this provides you with an easier way to get connected to those who can provide the financing you need to take your company to the next level.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, try to find a local business incubator in your area, and use this tool to help your business thrive.

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Ulster Bank Fraud Seminar Reaches Omagh

Continuing with the Ahead for Business Programme and trying to help businesses get ahead in Tyrone, Ulster Bank held their latest Fraud Awareness Seminar in Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh. The objective of the seminar is to help businesses keep themselves safe, by understanding the threats from fraud and what measures they can take to counteract these risks.

Ulster Bank Fraud Seminar

Shauna Burns, Head of Mid Ulster & Fermanagh Business centre welcomed 50 local business people to the business suite of the hotel and introduced the first speaker Margaret Hunter, RBS Security & Resilience. Margaret gave an overview of trends that the bank are experiencing and discussed hints and tips on cheque and invoice fraud. Michelle Garrigan, Head of On line Operations was the second speaker and gave the audience a great feel for the sophistication of fraudsters and what the banks golden security rules are regarding bankline. With some surprising statistics for the audience:

  • 1m people are affected daily by cybercrime
  • 170,000 identities stolen each year
  • Online fraud costs the UK economy £27bn each year

Fight Against Fraud

After a series of questions and answers, Shauna Burns closed the seminar and recommended that everyone shared the information of the day to business colleagues, family and friend to help “the fight against fraud”.

The local business team who were also in attendance received very positive feedback from the audience who appreciated the event being held in Omagh;

  • “great speakers, good content and good length”
  • “Definitely something I need to consider more in my own business”
  • “Can we arrange another for all local solicitors?”
  • “excellent event, very informative & worthwhile”

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Queens University: Dragons Den

Lights, Camera, Action…..Queens University: Dragons Den

Head of Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh Business Centre Shauna Burns recounts her recent experience as a judge on Queen’s University’s Dragons Den, where enterprising local students faced a grilling as they pitched for new investment…

IT bench marking for the agriculture sector; concierge for the nomadic digital community; medical diagnostic devices ; chargers for electric cars – these were just a few of the ideas from Northern Irelands brightest young students at the final of QUB Dragons Den last week.

The basement of Elmwood Hall was transformed into a film set just like the real Dragons Den, with the 11 final businesses pitching for £5,000 investment. Myself and the other Dragons, Philip Bain (Director, Shredbank), Nancy Brown (business consultant and entrepreneur), John McKee (Chief Executive, Linkubator),and David Bradshaw (Client Executive, Invest Northern Ireland) were given an insight to the future. We saw not just students with ideas but with ambition and with products that were ready for the market.

It was truly inspiring to see that the future of Northern Ireland economic growth is in the hands of people with such diverse and innovative ideas. I believe that all of them will become leading entrepreneurial figures and business people of the future.

Winner: SleepState Labs

As judges we faced a tough decision as the standard was so high but ultimately we decided on one winner – SleepState Labs who won the full £5k investment for their sleep detecting mobile application. Each finalist also received 12 months business accommodation at QUB, which will hopefully enable them to evolve their businesses..

Across Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank encounters many new and exciting business ideas and one of the refreshing challenges I find is helping turn those ideas into reality. Our dedicated start-up proposition is a great tool to help us do this, and this has given me even more motivation to get out and support local enterprise.

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