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Incubators 6 articles

Investing in the Future: Czech AI Startup Incubator Launches a €20M Fund to Elevate AI Startup Ecosystem

By Raphael Linhares

Prague-based AI Startup Incubator (AISI) announces the opening of Look AI Ventures, the first investment […]

Bright Labs Incubator: Lessons From Oradea’s One of a Kind Startup Program

By Antoanela Ionita

More than 100 tech founders, mentors, community leaders, tech professionals, and startup enthusiasts were brought […]

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What is a startup incubator? 

Startup incubators are programs or facilities designed to support the development and growth of early-stage companies, typically through providing resources such as office space, business development assistance, mentorship, and access to funding. 

Incubators often focus on specific industries or types of businesses, such as technology or social enterprises, and may have a particular mission or goal, such as promoting innovation or supporting underserved communities.

Many incubators also offer support in the form of business development assistance, such as help with marketing and sales, and may provide access to funding sources such as venture capital firms or angel investors.

Startup incubators can be a great resource for entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a new business, but may not have the resources or connections they need to get started. 

By providing a supportive environment and access to a range of resources, incubators can help innovations accelerate their growth and increase their chances of success.

bright labs incubator

Incubators vs innovation labs: differences

Incubators and innovation labs are similar in that they both provide support and resources to help early-stage companies or organizations develop and grow. However, they may have different approaches and focus on different aspects of the innovation process.

For example, incubators tend to be more structured and supportive, providing startups with a range of resources and support to help them grow and develop. 

Innovation labs, on the other hand, may be more experimental and focused on testing new ideas and technologies. Innovation labs may also be more focused on research and development, and may be less focused on supporting the growth of specific businesses or organizations.

Examples of incubators in Central and Eastern Europe

Here are some examples:

  • Tirana Inc. in Albania attracting European students to become entrepreneurs in the country.
  • Metropolitan Incubator is the first university-related incubator in Albania supporting business and regional economic development.
  • IBU is a Bosnian incubator that helps students on their quest to become successful entrepreneurs. 
  • The Croatian BIRD Incubator supports software businesses focused on data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
  • Startup Incubator Rijeka helps local entrepreneurs develop their business concepts collaboratively.
  • Zagreb Innovation Center provides an incubation program for deep tech, electronics, climate tech, energy, or sustainability startups.
  • The ITACA Business Incubator helps startup founders grow capabilities in product development, business models, negotiation with investors, marketing, and sales.
  • Startup Wise Guys helps startups from the CEE region that are looking for global market expansion. 
  • Tallinn Creative Incubator provides a program for design companies based in Estonia.
  • Athens Center for Entrepreneurship And Innovation connects Greek startups with teams of coaches, scientists, and mentors.
  • FOUND.ATION Greece is an innovation platform that provides various services to corporates and startups.
  • NAK TechLab is an incubation program aiming to increase the competitiveness and eco-friendliness of local agricultural and food markets.
  • Impact Hub Bucharest is an organization that enables members to exchange ideas and business knowledge. It also backs the entrepreneurial community by facilitating various acceleration and funding programs.
  • Science Technology Park is the first tech incubator in Serbia focused on helping young people in the country start their own businesses. 

BlackSea ClimAccelerator 2021, Innovation Accelerator website gallery


Who are the authors writing about incubators? 

The Recursive’s editors who write about startup incubators most often are Elena Ivanova and Elena Vrabie.

What materials are written most often? 

We try to explain the specifics of different incubation programs and whether they are a good fit for startups in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Can I subscribe to the latest incubation news? 

Yes, subscribe to The Recursive newsletter to receive the latest news about incubation programs in CEE.