A start-up is typically headed by one or a few entrepreneurs who are interested in answering a market demand through the creation of a new product or service. Compared to small businesses, a start-up company is focused on fast and profitable growth. A business accelerator programme can definitely give an impulse to a start-up but it is not made for everybody and there are some criteria that need to be met to get on board such a venture. Joining an accelerator programme too early can discourage an aspiring entrepreneur to move forward with his/her project or business idea.
This full guide will help you to know when your start-up is ready to hop on a business accelerator programme like the Scale Up Programme provided by Turbine in Mauritius.
Business Accelerator Programmes: What are they?
Accelerator programmes, also known as seed accelerators, help entrepreneurs to learn how to successfully run their business through the provision of mentoring, education, and opportunities of financing. Mentors are available to help young entrepreneurs navigate the competitive and sometimes confusing start-up world and may even help with funding. These types of programmes usually last for a few months where the aim is to teach the participant several years’ worth of experience and information in order to accelerate the timeline for success. The programme typically ends with a public pitch event where business owners can present their ideas to potential investors.
How do accelerators work?
The accelerator model has some typical features that set it apart from other approaches to start-up investment or business incubation. These include:
- A highly selective admissions’ process
- A focus on cohorts or ‘classes’ of start-ups rather than individual companies
- Mentoring or other business training
- Intense and time-limited support, usually lasting between three and 12 months
Advantages of joining an accelerator programme:
1. Comprehensive support
When you work within an accelerator, you get support from mentors and investors and other entrepreneurs in the programme. Besides emotional support, they can provide direction, experience and knowledge.
2. A full roster of activities to make you rapidly grow
While an accelerator program may seem like a short time, those few months are jam-packed with activities that benefit you and your start-up. This includes meetings with mentors, feedback sessions, “demo day” presentations, masterclasses, networking and social activities. Have a look at all the activities provided by Turbine.
3. Investor access for funding
During an accelerator’s pitch night, several investors are invited to watch the presentations. The participants of the accelerator programme also get the time to meet the investors after their presentations and further discuss the viability and profitability of their business ventures. This opportunity can open the doors to additional funding offers, especially when the investors see that the accelerator programme has helped you to further develop your start-up into something that shows the potential for return.
4. Accelerated knowledge
An accelerator program packs in a concentrated form of information that allows you to speed up your growth. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you are leveraging their years of accumulated wisdom to launch your start-up in a more calculated and strategic way.
5. Skills development
An accelerator program focuses on teaching you the skills that are essential for running a business, including sales and marketing, communication, finance and even some technical skills such as lean management and other operational processes.
6. Risk management
The risk of failure is on the mind of every start-up founder. This includes the market you are entering, the product you are offering and the concept that you are selling. An accelerator can identify the risks within your business concept and help you work effectively on managing and minimizing them to fit the market and be ready to reap the benefits of launching your successful business entity.
7. A bigger-picture, long-term view
As a founder, especially a first-timer, it can seem impossible to look beyond the first six months to a year. However, it is vital to work towards a much longer view and outcome. Mentors in accelerator programmes such as the Scale Up programme by Turbine can help new entrepreneurs foresee the complexity of running a business in the long-run and steer you in the right direction to deal with it.
8. Continued support long after the programme ends
Just because the accelerator programme ends in a few months doesn’t mean the support does. The alumni network is always there as well as the strong bonds that were created throughout the weeks.
How to know if your start-up is ready for an accelerator programme?
Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself to know if you’re ready or not to participate in an accelerator programme:
1. Does your start-up have the time needed to participate in an accelerator program?
Accelerators are time consuming, but doable. When it comes to accelerators, if you don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves, it’s likely not going to be worth it. If your business is up and running, time management will be crucial to manage both monitoring your business activities and attending the courses, workshops and events provided by the accelerator.
2. Does your start-up have the scalability that investors are looking for?
Investors want to know that your business will provide a positive return on their investment. Your start-up should be at a stage where you know it is scalable and can be monetized. You should have a market and a plan to grow your business with returns in mind. You’ll likely need to be able to prove you’re scalable to be accepted in the first place. If you don’t have a plan for scale, you may not be ready for an accelerator.
3. Will an accelerator programme add value to your start-up?
An accelerator should provide meaningful benefits to your start-up. You need to ask yourself: how will this accelerator actually impact my business? If the main benefit you can think of is that it will add clout, then it’s not the right time for you to join the accelerator.
Business accelerator programme in Mauritius
Do you think you are ready to join an accelerator programme in Mauritius or that you should make some adjustments before taking the next step? If you are an established start-up that has validated services and products, with paying customers but require a boost to increase sales and tractions either locally or internationally, we would be happy to assist you at Turbine. Join our Scale Up Programme now or get in touch with our team.