You’ve probably heard the term thrown around, usually in reference to Silicon Valley: Incubators. You’ve also heard of accelerators, and sometimes it might seem like people switch between the two terms to mean the same thing.
In truth, incubators and accelerators seek to do the same thing: provide the resources to turn startup ideas into viable businesses, and help entrepreneurs grow their businesses faster than they would on their own. It’s kind of like when you tell your kids to learn from your mistakes so they don’t have to — except in this case, the kids actually listen.
Whether an organization chooses to call themselves an incubator or an accelerator is mostly based on preference. There are no guidelines dictating what technically makes one different from another, although it’s important for entrepreneurs to pay attention. Generally speaking, incubators only take on seed-stage or early-stage startups, while accelerators are usually geared towards helping startups who are ready for rapid growth. But you’ll find that there’s plenty of overlap.
And it’s definitely not just a Silicon Valley thing. In fact, Denver South is home to some of the region’s most innovative incubators and accelerators. These organizations are helping to build companies that are working on the forefront of industries that span from technology to the Internet of Things.
Here’s where entrepreneurs can get a leg up in Denver South:


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With locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Denver South, Innosphere is dedicated to serving entrepreneurs up and down the Front Range. In addition to class A office space and wet lab space for science startups, Innosphere also offers programs focused on ensuring companies are investor-ready, connecting entrepreneurs with experienced advisors and early hires, making introductions to corporate and strategic partners to drive customer traction, exit planning, and accelerating top-line revenue growth.
Client companies work with experienced advisors, peer-groups, and an Innosphere liaison to develop a personalized plan around capital and finance, growth strategies and business development, talent acquisition, and achieving operational excellence.

Prime Health

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While not an incubator or accelerator in the classic sense of the terms, Prime Health nonetheless acts as an accelerator for adopting emerging healthcare technologies across Colorado.
One of Prime Health’s most successful initiatives is the Prime Health Challenge, a program that culminates in a “Shark Tank” style event where companies get to pitch their product to healthcare executives and investors. The winners not only receive prize money to help accelerate their venture, but may end up with opportunities to pilot programs with a local healthcare institution — to date Prime Health has awarded over $550,000 to fund 22 pilots at Colorado healthcare institutions.

TiE Denver

The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) was founded back in the early ‘90s in Silicon Valley but has since grown to have over 60 chapters across the world, with a very significant one located in Greenwood Village.
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By tapping into both its worldwide network and an impressive local membership, TiE Rockies offers education, mentoring and financial assistance. For those accepted into Propel, TiE Rockies’ accelerator program, you’ll receive specialized education, as well as some real-world experience, in the art of pitching your company and engaging with investors.
So the next time you hear the word “incubator” or “accelerator”, remember: It’s definitely a Denver South thing.