Are You Coachable? — Residency at NBIC is more than inexpensive office space. NBIC offers various resources and services to aspiring entrepreneurs interested in taking their business from a tiny acorn to a mighty oak. Being coachable is the key to success of the NBIC Incubator Program. “Coachability is the ability and willingness to learn and the determination to effectively apply that which is learned. NBIC offers many learning and networking opportunities to residents; in exchange, they must be willing to participate and learn.
Do You Have a Realistic Plan? — Simply having an idea is not enough. The ideal applicant for NBIC residency will have a realistic plan that answers the questions, What problem does your service or product solve? What is your goal to solve the problem in the marketplace? Who is your audience?
Are You Entrepreneurial? — NBIC residents have an entrepreneurial spirit. The successful applicant will not only be an entrepreneur, but also have the drive to succeed, the will to take intelligent risks, the stamina to work flexible hours, the heart to recover from setbacks, the overwhelming desire to change things for the better, the ability to share the work and the rewards with others, and the vision to lead.
Is Your Business Creditworthy? — As part of building a business, NBIC residents will be raising capital, signing leases, securing loans, purchasing equipment, engaging vendors and suppliers, processing payroll, and financing operations.
Are You a Non-Competitive Fit? — Residency at NBIC is being part of a community. Part of the power of being an NBIC resident is the support and feedback you get from your fellow residents, many of whom will be in your same industry cluster. We seek residents who complement each other.
Do You Have a Need for Incubation? — NBIC residents enjoy a wide range of shared resources and value-added services. We give preference to applicants who need them the most, and can use them to the greatest advantage.
Are You Open to Team Building? — Successful entrepreneurs are smart enough to realize that they can’t do it all themselves; they build management teams to help them develop and run their business.
Do You Have Office/Lab Space Needs? — Applicants for residency must show a demonstrable need for the office space we have to offer, and those needs must be within our capacity. (Entrepreneurs who already have adequate physical facilities are ideal candidates for NBIC’s Incubator Without Walls Affiliate Program.)
Are You Ready to Create Jobs?— Part of NBIC’s regional economic development mandate is jobs creation in Middle Tennessee. Companies with the highest potential for sustained jobs creation in Middle Tennessee will be given preference in the residency selection process.
Do You Have Sufficient First Year Resources? — Either through existing funds or investment capital, residency applicants should have adequate resources to pay program fees, salaries and overhead to be self-funded and at least cash flow neutral for the first 12 months, at a minimum. The first year or two of a young firm’s life is critical, and under-funding in the early going is the leading cause of failure.
Are You Committed to Middle Tennessee? — An important part of our regional economic development mandate is retention of local and regional talent. Applicants for NBIC residency must have definite plans to grow in the Middle Tennessee Area.
Are You a Growth and Innovative Focused business? — NBIC’s physical facilities are all geared to support and bolster companies with a growth, innovative, technology or knowledge based business, specifically in five general industry clusters: Bio-Medical Device Technology, Information Technology, Advanced and Lean Manufacturing Technology, Transportation Technology, and Advanced Materials. (For aspiring companies with “lifestyle” business models – consumer products, personal services, retail operations, etc. – the NBIC’s extensive referral services are an excellent way to access appropriate agencies best suited to those unique and specific needs.)
Other desirable selection criteria include:
- A business model based on sound technical and business principles
- A multi-functional, multi-disciplinary management team, ideally with start-up & growth experience
- An outside advisory team, or Board of Directors, with relevant subject matter expertise
- A written business plan or multi-year financial plan
- A working prototype, or a developed product
- An identified, qualified and quantified market
- A willingness, as individuals and as a team, to take intelligent, well-considered risks, including risks to personal assets invested in the firm
- Be adequately funded to sustain the business from the initial idea through commercialization, or to have taken the product idea or concept to a point where a product launch has either been implemented or planned in detail
While the first 12 characteristics are essential for NBIC residency applicants, few – if any – will have the all of the additional desirable criteria listed above already in place at the time of admission to the incubator program. To the extent that you do, so much the better, but developing these criteria (and more) are part and parcel of what our programs and services are designed to deliver. Learning how to do these things is the primary reason for becoming a resident in the first place. Potential residents who feel they are qualified to undertake a multi-step admissions process should attend the Incubator Open House, every first Wednesday from 9am – 10:30am.