Mercator Launch is not changing its name to Yes!Nijmegen. But now that we’ve got your attention, we would like to take this opportunity and share with you how proud we can be of ALL the pre-incubators in The Netherlands! Not only Yes!Delft, but also UtrechtInc, Incubase and The Gate. We always look at other organisations for inspiration and to see how we can do even better at Mercator Launch.

Creating societal impact since 2018
Since our start in May 2018, we supported over 250 entrepreneurs, raised 4M€ in funding for our startups and a staggering 59 companies officially registered at the Chamber of Commerce! And these are just our numbers, can you imagine what impact we have created together with the other (pre-)incubators in The Netherlands?!

Incubators in The Netherlands
For our relatively small country size and number of inhabitants, our entrepreneurial country has an astounding number of (pre-)incubators: more than 55 to be – roughly – exact. Some of them belong to the best in the world, like Mercator Launch 😉 But what is the difference between a pre-incubator and an incubator?

Incubator vs. Pre-incubator
Hackett and Dilts (2004) define an incubator as “[…] an enterprise that facilitates the early-stage development of firms by providing office space, shared services and business assistance.”

A pre-incubatorenvironment can be described as a “[…] risk-reduced environment where entrepreneurial ideas can be tested for market viability before progressing into the business incubator” (Dickson, 2004, p 533).

In plain language: an incubator facilitates startups to accelerate their growth whereas a pre-incubator helps starting entrepreneurs to take their first entrepreneurial in a safe environment, where trial and error is part of the plan. And that is exactly the kind of environment that we aim to create for future entrepreneurs at Mercator Launch.

For us and many other (pre-)incubators, these definitions and therefore a good (pre-)incubation programme includes offering an extensive learning programme, intended to help startups further develop their innovative ideas into a viable business. These programs are called ‘accelerators’ and ours is called the IMPROVE programme.

Different focus areas
The best part of having all these different (pre-)incubators in our country, is that each one offers something different and unique. And, more importantly, each branch has its own focus area.Many innovative and technical (pre-) incubation programs are linked to (technical) universities in the area. In Delft, for example, you have the aforementioned YES! Delft, which mainly focus on deep tech. Start-up ecosystem Amsterdam focuses more on IT en FinTech (Financial Technology) and Wageningen is all about Food & Agriculture. In Nijmegen, our primary focus is on Cross-overs and Enabling Technologies like Green IT, Digital Health and AI. And of course, with a lot of social sciences, humanities and arts, we also support social entrepreneurship and science-based consultancy.

Entrepreneurial success
The different focus areas ensure that all innovative ideas are bundled in places where startups can benefit from specific knowledge and expertise in their area. In this way, the (pre-)incubators in The Netherlands can create even more opportunities for startups to develop their idea and turn it into a successful company with the help of appropriate programmes, the right expertise in the right place at the right time.

Thanks & cheers!
Cheers to all incubators in the country; we’re very happy to stimulate entrepreneurship and facilitate innovative technical and societal change together with you!

PS: we would be interested to combine forces and discuss Yes!Nijmegen 🙂