Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Funding Programs

Running programs is the essence of what incubators and accelerators do. How can we create a scenario in which we are confident in raising money for ourselves and others?


This section looks at how you can support entrepreneurs to raise funding for their business while contributing to your own financial sustainability. It outlines a pathway that you can build to best position yourself to provide that support. It then looks at the five key areas where you can support your entrepreneurs and provides examples of how this support can look in practice.

The Impact on Revenue, on Your own Financial Sustainability

Organisations will inevitably ask themselves if they need to raise money or make a stance that they need to raise money. As providers of funding support, it allows you as an organisation to sit in the middle, to be the conduit of sources of funding and your entrepreneurs.

Your unique position provides tremendous value to them as you help them to curate the right introductions, help empower them with the knowledge and the training to raise money (and be successful).

Your position also brings value to the funders because they know that when they are introduced to a company from your organisation that they have been trained, empowered, equipped and ready. Therefore there can be a significant impact on revenue either through donors, sponsors, or through fees (in certain cases).

A Path for You to Build

  • 01.

    Build funding capability

    Before helping others, you should first build funding capability for yourself in terms of your own training and experience to ensure that you have the wisdom and knowledge that can then help support your entrepreneurs.

  • 02.

    Build investor capability locally

    Build a community of investors locally but taking into consideration that some communities have more potential for angel investors than others.


  • 03.

    Build a support system

    Build a support system for those who are also helping organisations to raise money or construct relationships. A couple of examples include legal, accounting, GoFundMe, IndiGoGo, and Kickstarter.


    Donors and funders should also be looked at as they will directly invest in startups and micro-enterprises.

  • 04.

    Build linkages with global accelerators and investors

    Lastly on the priority sequence is building linkages with global accelerators and investors.


    It is important to note that there are global accelerators who support a very diverse ring of startups; from patents pending, hi-tech through certain types of micro-impact enterprises.


The path to build can be a long one so set expectations early as this is a process that might take many months to a couple of years.

Assessing where you are and trying to find the right investor or other pathway to sustainability is the first priority.

Key Areas Where You Can Support

There are some key areas that incubators and accelerators have the opportunity to provide support for entrepreneurs while being financially sustainable themselves. It is through:

  • Training
  • Tools
  • Advisory
  • Masterminds and Roundtables
  • Introductions
  • Custom pieces that may be relevant in your particular marketplace

Bonus: Investment returns (if you take a percentage of ownership in the business)


1. Training

Train to get your entrepreneurs ready. They only get one shot when they are pitching to investors and to do this successfully, you need to train them up on tools, advisory services, and customised support.


How entrepreneurs perform in front of investors also reflects your brand.


Spring’s Training Path

  • 1.

    Over the last five years, Spring has developed a process called The Training Path, that includes a prework component as well as five different modules for entrepreneurs.


    Prework entrepreneurs can go through:

    – Incubation

    – Customer discovery

    – Acceleration (sometimes)


    1. Funding foundation: How do you raise money, what are the potential sources of funding from loans to grants, revenue, and various investments?



    – Budget & forecasting for funding

    – Crowdfunding 101

    – Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)


    2. Pitch development: How do you prepare to pitch for the different types of money (investments/bank loans)?


    – Pitch practice sessions and events (for those who are pursuing investors)


    3. Valuation: Of a project/donor/business


    4. Due diligence: Investor term for homework (funder will do on the organisation)


    – Round mechanics

    5. Negotiation


    Source: Spring

While investors and funders may fund a workshop on The Training Path in its entirety. They may also wish to fund the lighter workshops (e.g. Funding 101 and Crowdfunding) for a particular group.

Practical Tip

Get the investor to pre-invest in your program so they save time with the entrepreneurs because they’ve gone through the workshops

2. Tools

Provide your entrepreneurs with tools to support their learning.

These are not from standalone funding but to complement the training process.

  • Checklists
  • Sales Process (to grants/to investors)
  • Ideal investor profile (who makes the most sense to work with)
  • Investor funnel template
  • Pitch template
  • Due diligence framework
  • Monthly investor update email templates

3. Advisory Services

Training gets them to the starting line, but how do we do advisory services? It is critical to start building some capability within your program over time to help advise your organisations on key topics such as if and when to raise money, and knowing what options exist for them to raise money successfully.

A good thing about advisory services is that you can bring in sponsorships alongside them (e.g. Lawyers and accountants, global accelerators and crowdfunding platforms, investors and Venture Capitalists who can support this). Sometimes you’ll be able to get entrepreneurs to pay for this as they get regular support and guidance.

Practical Tip

Advisory services can be very mentor-heavy so can be either delivered in-person (in a workshop) or virtually (through webinars).

4. Masterminds and Roundtables

Funding Masterminds or Roundtables are where you bring together a group of four to eight entrepreneurs who meet on a regular basis (biweekly or monthly).

This can serve as a structured scale of a way for your organisation to provide ongoing advice for companies raising money. It can help to track goals and introductions to ensure there is a place for them to ask questions so they can then be answered during or after the group. It creates a sense of community and authentic sharing.

Roundtables give entrepreneurs an opportunity to realise that they are not the only ones trying to raise money, or are alone in the process and that they can learn from other entrepreneurs, yourself or the mentors and investor community.


This usually attracts entrepreneurs that have launched in the market (alumni or other great impact organisations) and who have an active support network.

5. Introductions For Your Companies

Be active with making linkages with investors of all types that are relevant for your companies (e.g. grant organisations, loan organisations, angel investors, Venture Capitalists, crowdfunding platforms).

Practical Tip

Start by asking and looking to see who is investing in the ecosystem, make connections and meetings, and have a database to keep track of introduction and connections.

6. Investment Returns

It is also possible to provide funding, training, and support to companies through investment returns.

As you help develop organisations, you also may have the opportunity to take a percentage of ownership in that company.


If you are taking equity, it can sometimes take 7 to 10 years before that return is actually realised.


Angel Accelerators

How to better understand Angel-stage accelerators and the fundamentals of Angel Investing