download (2)Typically public-private partnerships, these groups have sprung up around the nation. Their core function is usually to offer loans to startups and early-stage businesses, but they also provide a crucial forum for networking, and bringing VCs and other investors to smaller entrepreneurs who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.

They provide more than just funds; many are constructed to help startups find their footing in their business plans as well. Incubators may provide funding, office space, and access to a network of professionals that can help you out with your business.

Their purpose is to develop the economy in their communities, so it may seem as if your opportunities are limited to your hometown.

The National Business Incubation Association and the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds offers a directory to locate both incubators and accelerators across the nation.