We're helping create a UK-wide Accelerator at the moment which is very exciting. Our client, Dstl, asked a very good question yesterday. Do we have a definition of an Accelerator and how that's different from a hub or incubator?
The terms accelerator, incubator, hub are often conflated and also developing rapidly but here's our attempt at drawing a set of working definitions:
Accelerators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs, that include mentorship and funding and culminate in a pitch. Often centred around a physical location, accelerators can be either privately or publicly funded and unlike incubators, the application process for accelerators is open to anyone, but highly competitive. Corporate accelerators are subsidiaries or programs of larger corporations. (Wikipedia, edited)
An Incubator is a business support service with premises, staff and equipment that is made available at low rent to start-ups. Incubators are often university or regionally run and help small new companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space. (Wikipedia, edited)
Hubs are meeting and convening points for a community whose members form an interest group and have a sense of belonging.They are self-organizing and often emerge from groups of like-minded entrepreneurs. They enable innovators, often offering a range of membership options in an environment where members are curated and encouraged to collaborate.
I'd be grateful for any feedback on this so we can sharpen up these definitions.