BIG Incubator General FAQ

What is an Incubator?  

An Incubator is a type of program that helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop from an idea, at the beginning of the startup process, to having an early-late stage startup that includes a business model, product, customer traction, technology, milestones,  and company infrastructure. Incubators are fixed-term, cohort-based programs that offer:

    • intensive training;

    • mentorship;

    • co-working space.

Incubator programs culminate in a Demo Day, where the entrepreneurs present their streamlined, late-early stage business pitches to investors, accelerators, and the entrepreneurial community who have resources to take the company into its later stages.  

What is the BIG Incubator Program?

The BIG Incubator Program is a 30 week startup incubator program for up to 20 startups led by Black and Latinx women. BIG provides a structured curriculum based on Lean Startup methodologies that take founders from an idea to a viable business.  The BIG Incubator includes the Confident Founders program, which focuses on developing founders to stand confidently in their founder role and attract customers and investors. The Program is packed with learning, experience, mentorship by top leaders, speakers, and networking.  It culminates with Demo Day where founders pitch directly to investors, accelerators, BIG’s Pathway Partners, and the entrepreneurial community.

Where is the BIG Incubator Program Located?

There are two BIG Incubators in 2019:  Atlanta, Georgia and Newark, New Jersey.

What are the dates for the BIG Incubator Program?

Applications for both Atlanta and Newark open on December 6, 2018 and close early February, 2019.

The Atlanta BIG Incubator launches with START (Business Model Canvas, Ideation weekend)  on February 22, 2019.

Newark BIG Incubator launches with START (Business Model Canvas, Ideation weekend) on March 15, 2019.

How long is the program?

The Atlanta and Newark BIG Incubators are 30 weeks, across three modules.  

The Atlanta BIG Incubator cohort begins mid-March, 2019; and ends on Atlanta’s Demo Day,  December 3, 2019.

The Newark BIG Incubator cohort begins early-April, 2019; and ends on Newark’s Demo Day, December, 10, 2019.

What Does the Program Look Like?

START: START is a Business Model Canvas, Ideation weekend of programming, networking, mentorship, and feedback from entrepreneurial leaders.  This pre-Incubator weekend prepares each of the founders for their company’s next steps and it is part of the selection process for the BIG Incubator.   

Incubator Modules: The BIG Incubator Program spans 3 modules focused on Customer Development, Product Development, and Company Development. Participation includes a membership to BIG’s co-working space during the time of the module; access to a range of other BIG events (Lunch&Learn, Innovation Thursdays and special events) for the program’s duration; and access to other community events.

Demo Day:  Demo Day is an entrepreneurial community event with digitalundivided’s Pathway Partners,  Investors, Accelerators, Community Partners, and founders’ families that showcases BIG Incubator founders and companies. It includes founder pitches, company tables and demonstrations, plenty of networking, celebration, and fun.  

What is my schedule going to be if accepted into the incubator?

We hold two labs each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm-9pm. There are also additional workshops and events on other days throughout the program, which will be announced during the modules.   

What happens at the end of the Incubator?

Upon completion of the Incubator, founders go into one of three paths.  Founders that are ready, go into a national accelerator. We have a network of Pathway Partners to make this happen.  Founders who have sufficient revenues may decide to take the “bootstrapping” path to gain more traction. Third, other founders discover they need to pivot again and take what they’ve done into the next version of their company.

To get a better idea of what this is like, check out the video from 2017 Demo Day where six founders presented.  Of the six, 1 founder was accepted into a national accelerator, 1 founder was a finalist for a national accelerator, another founder is revenue-positive building her company, and two founders pivoted and continue to work on their companies.

How Can I Make My Application Stand Out?

Here are several application tips to help your entry stand out from the rest.

Be YOU in your responses.  We know that ideas morph and change, topics can be learned. It’s you that will move your first idea into something more and you are the force into making it a viable company.  Be authentic: tell us about your struggles and triumphs, and show us your vision and passion.

Take your time to write thoughtful, clear, detailed, and well-written responses to the questions. We are looking for concise and direct; we want to hear what you know and what you wish to learn.  

Check out The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Our business development model is heavily based on the teachings from this book. Connecting where you are with the process might get you thinking.  

Where does the program take place?

The BIG program will take place in two locations in 2019: Atlanta and Newark. You’ll tell us  which location you’re applying to during the application process.

Do I need to live in Atlanta or Newark during the program?

Both Atlanta’s and Newark’s BIG Incubator are focused on in-person labs that take place in each city’s Incubator space. Residing in / near the city of the program will make it more accessible and rich. We have had founders reside elsewhere and participate, but this involves planning consistent weekly trips to the program’s city.

I’m not a Black or Latinx Woman, can I still apply?

If you have an idea partner who is a Black or Latinx woman and that founder is an equal and/or majority equity partner, then she may apply and you may attend as her co-founder.

Does the program offer investment?

BIG does not offer investment.

Does the program offer housing?

No. But we can help identify housing options.

Does the program offer childcare?

We do not offer in-house childcare support. However, we are a program for women, so the occasional little one in the conference room watching cartoons, while mom is in Lab, is not uncommon for us.

When are applications open?

Applications open on  December 6th, 2018.

When do the applications close?

Applications close early  February, 2019 or until START is at capacity for each location.  The earlier you submit your application, the better.

Do I have to have a company to apply?

No.  Remember, the program begins with the idea.  

Do I have to have a technology to apply?

No, but the idea, either the one you have now or the one that will develop, needs to include a significant technology component which may mean a specific technology and/or using technology to access customers, deliver products (i.e. mobile, internet-based).  

What is my schedule going to be if accepted into the incubator?

We hold two labs each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm-9pm. There are also additional workshops and events on other days throughout the program, which will be announced during the modules.   

What is the participant selection process?

Participants are selected in a 3-step process:

  1. The first step is the application.  

  2. The second step is an invitation to START weekend for up to 50 founders, in both Atlanta and Newark.  

  3. After START weekend, up to 20 women will be invited to the cohort in each location.

How are the decisions made?

We consider your idea, the problem you want to address, or other starting points for the program. Given that the hustle, courage, resilience, brains, commitment, motivation and personal growth of the entrepreneur are primary ingredients for success at this stage, the founder (YOU) is key to this decision.

When will I know if I’m selected?

Applicants invited to BIG’s START weekend will be notified no later than 2 weeks prior to the city’s START weekend.  Your place will be confirmed and held once payment is made.

If I am invited to START Weekend, what materials do I need to bring with me?

All invited founders are encouraged to bring the materials/equipment that you feel will make you successful during START weekend. There is no specific checklist of materials/equipment required.

How will I be notified?

All notifications will happen by email.  

I have been invited to START but am unable to attend. Can I attend next year?

Each year founders need to submit new applications and go through the acceptance process again.

Still have questions?

Let us know.  Contact us at