7 of the best incubators in the Midwest

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From Chicago to Missouri to Iowa, the Heartland is not just a place to ‘flyover’ but a place where innovation meets opportunity. More and more businesses are setting up shop in the Midwest and it’s clear to see why. From a lower cost of living to a booming tech industry, the heartland is giving the West Coast a run for its money. When looking for an Incubator, don’t leave these seven companies off your list.

Future Founders | Chicago, IL

Having served over 34,000 youth to date, Future Founders is an amazing incubator for entrepreneurs just starting out. Their fellowship program, a year-long cohort that allows entrepreneurs access to resources such as mentoring, peer community, retreats, and volunteer opportunities can get you where you want to go. From 2016-2018 Future Founders has generated $17.7M in revenue, created 317 jobs and has raised $12.4M in capital. If you think this program is the one for you, visit their site for more information.

In recent news, Brad Keywell, Chairman of Future Founders organization, was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2019. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs and Brad is a veteran Chicago entrepreneur, having taken his company, Uptake Technologies, to become the fastest-growing startup to reach a $2 billion valuation.

The Incubator | Skokie, IL

If you’re a science or technology-based company looking for a leg-up, The Incubator community may be the perfect fit. A not-for-profit company, they look to help start-ups that are pre-market, pre-money and or pre-employee who are too small to establish relationships with banks, angels, VC’s or other resources. As a part of The Incubator, you’ll be part of a bigger picture without sacrificing who you are as a company. From creating a management team to raising capital, you’ll have access to a full-range of support services to meet your needs. Find out more about their offerings on their site.

Innovation Stockyard | St. Joseph, MO

Specifically designed to help those entrepreneurs in the animal science industry, Innovation Stockyard could be your one-stop business incubator. Their state-of-the-art 1,800 sq. foot laboratory gives you the ability to help your idea come to life. Grant writing, product distribution, marketing, business plans and more, Innovation Stockyard has the connections and facilities you need to put horsepower behind your business. Visit their site for information on how they can help.

BetaBlox | Kansas City, MO

Selecting only 10 entrepreneurs at a time, BetaBlox designs their programs to accelerate your company’s growth and increase its valuation. Taking equity instead of charging a fee upfront, you know they’re just as motivated to get you up and running because they’ve got a stake in the game, too. Working with startups in KC and Tulsa, Oklahoma, their program is a hands-on, no-holds-barred year-long program that takes you from accelerator services to an incubator to partners in business and hopefully, lifelong friends. Visit their site to see more about who they are and what they can do for you.

712 Innovations | Topeka, KS

712 Innovations’ Wheelhouse Incubator program is 12 weeks of intense work to scale-up your business. Offering mentorship programs, tools, resources and ample networking opportunities this may be the right program for you. A coworking space and incubator, 712 Innovations welcomes you to visit their site or their space for a tour.

West Des Moines Business Incubator | Des Moines, IA

Building small businesses since 2009, this 501(c)3 Incubator offers educational resources, coaching, and collaboration. Their partnership with the Iowa Center for Economic success means that you have direct access to some great mentors. If you’re in the area, check out their site for their listing of monthly events and for more information on how they can help your business succeed.

John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center | University of Iowa

Start-up training is what this center is all about. De-risk the process while increasing your likelihood of success by 20%. Since 1996, John Pappajohn and his wife donated $1.5 million in an effort to make Iowa the most entrepreneurial state in America. Any entrepreneur is welcome to explore the incubator programs. With hubs across the states, you can apply anytime! With over 580 entrepreneurs trained and over 150 mentors, you can join the ranks and reap the benefits. Visit their site to see how they can help you get to where you want to go.

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