Working in an Incubator

Jonathan Bercu of PME-funded business “Tryb” discusses the pros and cons of working in an incubator.

Bootstrapping can be beneficial for some entrepreneurs: it teaches them how to spend wisely, lets them make more profit, and lets them keep full control of their company. However, this approach does not work for everyone, and some startups prefer to work in incubators.

Incubators are organizations designed to help the development of startups by providing them different services, from management training to co-working space. However, there is a competitive admission process, and every incubator has its own criteria and requirements, as well as types of help they will provide to your startup; things like mentorship, expertise, access to investors, and in some cases, working capital in the form of a loan. This shows, once more, that you must do your research to find the incubator that is right for you. Before you apply however, here are some pros and downsides to consider about entering an incubator.


  • Using the shared working space and supplies provided by an incubator, allows you to reduce your overhead while you grow.
  • Networking: if you have a problem that is just to difficult for you to solve, you will have a multitude of peers in your incubator to help you out. In an incubator, you  can work with other entrepreneurs and learn for their mistakes before you make them yourself.
  • Incubators also provide training and other resources for you to grow your business. You will have access to seasoned mentors that can give you advice and insight and they will challenge you with questions, you never though of asking yourself.
  • Incubators can help you identify resources in your area, be it human resources, government programs, or financing. You will be able to discover lots of new opportunities that can grow your start-up.


  • Office space will be free, but it also has its downsides: you will have adapt to your environment, and there will be lots of distractions.
  • The application process can be rigorous and competitive. For most incubators, an applicant is required to submit a detailed business plan.
  • Some incubators will tempt you with high promises and great opportunities, but will not deliver. Others will impose different conditions such as equity, for example. Speak to entrepreneurs who are already in the incubator to gain a first-hand review.
  • Many incubators require a time commitment and a adherence to the schedule set by the incubator, which can include many training’s and workshops. Yes, you will learn a lot, but you’ll also spend a fair amount of time doing it.

If the downsides of applying to an incubator are too much for you to handle, you can stop reading this post and make more productive use of your time. If, however, joining an incubator is something that interests you, here are a few good places in Montreal:

District 3

District 3 is located at Concordia University and offers office space, startup programs, as well as one-on-one coaching. District 3 offers a place for entrepreneurs, creatives and engineers to come together and develop their startups.


Centech is an incubator that offers financial aid, office space, and specialized training to tech startups. Being a start-up at Centech will also provide you will access to different tech events across the city, as well as an annual golf tournament!


This brand-new accelerator and incubator is aimed at making Montreal a model digital city, and ties closely to Denis Coderre’s Montreal Smart City plan. It offers pitch and demo sessions, and provides workshops, funding, and office space for its startups.

McGill X-1

McGill University’s new X-1 accelerator program, is an intensive 10-week summer program to learn the skills to become better entrepreneurs. The program is composed of a speaker-series, mentorship, workshops, advisory board meetings and time-to-build hours. The three core pillars of the program focus on customer relations, the product and the business model.

These are just a few of the incubators available in the city of Montreal. If none of these tickle your fancy, consult a full list of Montreal incubators by downloading our entrepreneurship guide. Remember to research the incubator that is right for you, in order to maximize the benefits of growth and experience for your startup.

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