To join or not to join an accelerator program is a question that often confuses entrepreneurs. There are many entrepreneurs who believe that they are too good to be baby sited by mentors at any accelerator training program.
This kind of thought may actually happen to come to those co-founders who themselves have been senior executives at large corporations. Or, those who have run a successful lifestyle business might find it particularly challenging to go back to school.
Comparatively a younger co-founder might think of an accelerator program as a quick route to success. The unfair advantage of an accelerator training program is often quite different from what is presumed by both these camps.
Check 4 top reasons why startup SMEs should join an accelerator.
An Ecosystem of Support:
Accelerators often come with extra support systems, such as law firms, regulatory experts, patent attorneys, etc. who are eager to advise early stage startups. They provide their services often pro bono or at a reduced price. It allows the founding team to get quick access to key industry experts and advisers who are willing to work with a startup.
The SME co-founders also get to interact and learn from other startups in the cohort, facing the challenges unique to the industry and or geography. Many often, the first paying customer interested in giving demo of a startup product comes from a soft introduction by a mentor or a participant in the accelerator.
An accelerator program is designed to provide infrastructure, support and training that would otherwise be time-consuming for start-ups. Such a training program also provides access to an entire ecosystem to support a start-up that may otherwise feel isolated.
Develop skills for the founding team:
The co-founders may lack a good understanding of one or more areas of operation. The experienced co-founders often find that the tools and strategies that work for large corporations or businesses, are utterly useless when applied to a rapidly growing startup. The accelerators help co-founder teams build critical strategy documents such as a plan for business model, a five-year financial forecast, a sales and marketing strategy, and a technology roadmap. The accelerators also help them in identifying gaps in critical skill sets and then build a short-term as well as a long-term hiring strategy.
Help build the first iteration of your startup:
Most accelerators end with a “Demo Day.” From there, the participating startups pitch (often on a podium) for follow-on investments from local or global venture capitalists. It helps the co-founder teams build the first iteration of their business. The co-founder teams and the first few employees come together as a team to define a target customer, identify their pain points, and come up with a potential solution.
One thing of a startup accelerator that businesses often turn a blind eye to, is the actual money that they invest in super early stage companies. It not only gives the founding team a few months of runway, but actually helps them prove that someone is actually interested in putting in money to back their idea. Are you a startup? Still wondering if it’s really worthwhile to join an accelerator program or not? Get consulted from experts to make the right decision.