Could Your Business Benefit from Being Part of a Business Accelerator? –
Business accelerator programmes have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Governments are looking to support new businesses and private companies, often involving angel or VC investors, in the hope of finding early-stage opportunities they can help grow, and subsequently invest in when the time is right.
So if you are launching a new venture, is it worth joining a business accelerator? To help you understand more about how they work, we asked Ben Jones of AberInnovation to explain what an accelerator could do for your business.
What exactly is a business accelerator?
An accelerator programme is usually one that gives developing companies access to advice, training, mentorship, investors and other support that will help them become stable, self-sufficient businesses. An accelerator programme can help from the very earliest ‘lightbulb’ stage of a business, through to those who need help scaling up or attracting investment.
So, that’s the theory – but do accelerator programmes really help? Some are free, but some can be quite expensive to join, so what are the benefits?
Here are the five biggest benefits of joining the right accelerator programme for your business:
1. Validate your idea
Everyone with an ostensibly good idea thinks that theirs has heaps of potential and will plug an as-yet unfilled gap in the market, leading to untold riches and recognition. But of course, not every bright idea can be a success. In reality, most ideas for new products and services barely get off the ground.
Being selected to take part in the right accelerator programme gives you a chance to really validate your idea and test your hypotheses. Is there a market for your product? Do the financials stack up? Do the costs involved in the development and/or manufacture make it a viable proposition? Is it investable?
When we’ve had an idea for a while, it’s only natural to become emotionally invested in it. The mentorship and expertise found on an accelerator programme will help you to make a clear-headed and dispassionate evaluation of whether your idea has legs.
Furthermore, a good programme will help you make the adjustments and course-corrections that may be required – saving you from wasting months, if not years, barking up the wrong tree.
2. Comprehensive support
Many budding entrepreneurs who end up on accelerators don’t come from business backgrounds and soon learn that launching and growing a new business can be a daunting endeavour.
Accelerator programmes will address participants’ knowledge gaps (not to mention offering plenty of reassurance and emotional support!) by providing mentors, success stories and subject experts to support you and equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to get your idea off the ground.
The valuable experience and hard-won advice shared by successful entrepreneurs can be lightning in a bottle for fledgling founders. Many programmes, such as BioAccelerate 2020, set aside…