Top Benefits of Taking a Business Accelerator Program

Created: Tuesday, December 8, 2020, posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 10:00 am

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By Ben Jones, AberInnovation

There are now many business accelerators on offer. If you have what you believe is a strong business idea should you join a program?  How might you benefit?

Let’s begin by describing what a business accelerator is:

An accelerator program 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 program can help from the very earliest ‘lightbulb’ stage of a business, through to those businesses who need help scaling up or attracting investment.

That is the concept but do accelerator programs really help entrepreneurs in practice? Some are free, but some programs can be quite expensive to join, so it is important to understand the benefits you can gain by taking part.

Business Accelerator Program
Image: Pixabay

Let us look at the top benefits you can gain by joining the appropriate business accelerator.

You will Test and 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 program 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 program will help you to make a clear-headed and dispassionate evaluation of whether your idea has legs.

Furthermore, a good program 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.

You will Experience 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 endeavor. Accelerator programs 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 programs, such as BioAccelerate 2020, set aside time in their schedules to invite founders and directors in relevant fields to offer their wisdom and to share their journeys with the cohort.

You will Benefit from Cutting-edge Facilities

Right now, there is a proliferation of business accelerators. However such programs differ. Of course, there are overlaps and similarities: most programs will cover core topics such as finances, intellectual property, branding, product development, etc. And some programs go much further than this.

Sector-specific programs, and ones that are aligned to universities or innovation parks, can often provide access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment, together with the pre-eminent expertise that you’d expect to find at an academic institution.

To take one example, the BioAccelerate program offered at AberInnovation gives startups in the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors access to their brand-new £40.5m campus, which includes a state-of-the-art biorefinery and a Future Food Centre.

You will Learn What Investors Want

Unless you’re fortunate enough to be in line to inherit the family fortune, you’re probably going to need investment at some stage to grow your company and to bring your product or service to market.

Accelerator programs invariably end with some sort of pitch or demo day, where you’ll demonstrate the progress you’ve made over the course of the program to a panel of industry experts and potential investors. Learning how to present to these types of audiences will be vital in securing funding at the various stages of your startup’s journey.

You will Join a Supportive Cohort

Developing a new product or service can be lonely. By definition, there often won’t be many others (or indeed any) doing the same thing. To ensure you keep up your morale and motivation levels, it’s important to find a welcoming and supportive group of peers who are on a similar path.

This means it is imperative to find the right program that has rigorous and robust selection criteria to ensure a cohort of inspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs. There are bound to be difficult days and moments of doubt as you develop your proposition over the course of an accelerator program. A supportive group that you can bounce ideas off and which will provide feedback will help you navigate these challenging times.

In an increasingly interdisciplinary world where problems often require a multitude of solutions, these bonds may even lead to fruitful future opportunities.

If you can identify the right accelerator program for your business/business idea in your particular sector, it can set you on the right track.  Check out the programs currently available and apply.  If you are willing to put the work in both during the program and afterward your business can benefit hugely.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones is from AberInnovation. Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AberInnovation) provides world-leading facilities and expertise within the biotechnology, agri-tech, and food and drink sectors. Set in stunning scenery between the Cambrian Mountains and the Irish Sea, the £40.5m Campus offers an ideal environment for business and academic collaboration to flourish.

For more information about BioAccelerate, visit the BioAccelerate page.

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