Launching a startup can be intimidating. However, with the right support and direction, a simple idea can turn into a million-dollar business.

This brings the need for more accelerators and incubators to push the startup ecosystem.

The whole idea of an accelerator or incubator is to groom early-stage tech companies. According to CNBC, there has been a 117 per cent increase in Asia’s total funding activity compared to previous years, bringing into light the potential of these initiatives.

e27 rounds up six of the most notable accelerator programmes in our database that have made a definitive mark in Southeast Asia.

1. Tune Labs

Tune Labs is an incubator and accelerator programme in Kuala Lumpur for founders with promising ideas, who are looking to test their product in the right market. Mentors of this initiative include the co-founders of Air Asia, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and co-founder of ECM Libra Group Lim Kian Onn.

Process: In order to take part in the incubator programme, which runs three times in a year for a period of 12 weeks, startups must apply via their online portal. The submission confirmations usually take a week.

Equity: The company takes a different amount of stakes for different companies that it supports.

Focus: The primary focus for this programme is mobile, travel, e-commerce and fintech companies. However, it is not limited to the above.

2. Plug and Play

Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play have a wide reach in Southeast Asia providing startups with a range of accelerators via its platform. It is one of the most popular choices of accelerators in SEA.

Process: The global accelerator has an all year round application process for a period of 12 weeks where startups can apply through the company website.

Equity: The company promises no equity from startups who join the programme but asks for an investment in the next phases of funding.

Focus: Startups also have the option of picking any accelerator programme in any industry via the platform. For example, fintech, insurtech, mobility, IoT, etcetera.

3. Impactech

Based in Singapore, Impactech provides acceleration for early stage start-ups who use technology in innovative ways to tackle social issues.

Process: The programme goes on for three to four months, providing entrepreneurs with mentoring, working space, access to a network of resources in order to launch a successful business.

Also Read: All in the family: How to build a community that accelerates business

Equity: They have two kinds of accelerator programmes, private and corporate. Usually, after the corporate accelerator programme, the corporate can choose to integrate the startup idea, invest or take equity.

Focus: As the name suggests, the company mainly focuses on startups that aim to tackle social issues. For example, ageing population, nutrition and health, education, healthcare, cleantech, agritech, foodtech, and more.

4. True Incube

True Incube is a tech accelerator programme in Thailand that targets all stages of startups to receive support in order to launch a successful product.

Process: The programme usually goes on for 10 weeks where True Incube provides a seed fund of US$18,000 to selected startups and offers other perks such as a trip to Silicon Valley for the winner and mentorship by a wide selection of mentors in Thailand and 500 Startups Network.

Equity: Some amount of equity is taken from the startup during the process.

Focus:  It mainly focuses on eight industries: logistics, medical, fintech, energy tech, AI, agritech, IOT or robotics, advertising and media tech.

5. Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First has a unique accelerator programme where individuals do not need to enter with a team. They can enter solo and leave with a company.

Process: The programme runs every six months in Asia and Europe, with between 50 and 100 people on each. The programme runs full-time and has rolling applications throughout the year.

The only drawback of this programme is that it is extremely competitive and only 40 to 50 per cent of the participants are funded.

Equity: Successful applicants will have to provide Entrepreneur First with 10 per cent equity stake in their company. However, the company also promises to fund the seed round where “local fund structures permit”.

Focus: There is no focus on any one sector and selections are made based on “talents and not qualification”.

6. Ideaspace

Ideaspace is a non-profit startup incubator in the Philippines which focuses on supporting innovation, technology development, and entrepreneurship in the region. For successful startups, the programme provides equity-free grant for product and market development along with US$19,710 in equity funding.

Also Read: Meet the 7 leading startup incubators and accelerators in UAE

Process: The program runs for 20 weeks and is focused on lean product development, market validation and team management. Founders must enter a competition and win it in order to get considered for the benefits. Perks include US$10,400 cash, housing, transportation, incorporation, office space, communication, software support, mentorship, and training

Equity: As of 2016, the company has decided to take a “no equity” structure.

Focus: The focus is on a wide range of innovative solutions.

Image Credit: Alex Kotliarskyi

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