Understanding Startup Accelerator Programs

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One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when starting up a business is securing the right amount of funding.

However, even once you’ve established your source funds, there’s still the problem of actually growing your business.

This is where expert advice and mentoring can help turn a great idea into a full business and how a startup accelerator program can greatly improve your chances of becoming a successful startup.

A startup accelerator program is essentially a holistic approach to helping you get your business off the ground and into the limelight.

Unlike just funding alone, it provides mentoring services and helpful networking opportunities to help you grow every facet of your business.

As a result of this assistance, each accelerator program offers a variety of different advantages that are tailored to your specific type of business or industry.

So in this article, I’m going to discuss what startup accelerators can do for your business, and also give some helpful advice on how you can find the right accelerators for your needs.

An accelerator can provide financial investment

One of the most common services you’ll receive from a startup accelerator is additional funding.

On average, US-based accelerators will typically offer $20,000 to $50,000 to successful applicants and this lump sum often goes towards product development and manufacturing, establishing marketing and promotional links or potentially even creating entirely new products that could benefit the success of your company.

Currently, around 186 accelerators have provided startups in the United States with over $107.3 million USD and around 3,296 different startups have received funding and assistance from accelerators.

Not all accelerators demand an equity stake

The most common form of compensation for these accelerator services is an equity stake in your company.

However, there are also a couple of accelerators that do not actually require you to offer them anything in return.

The idea is that these accelerators offer you advice, funding and mentoring and you provide the local economy with an injection of employment opportunities and stimulate the market.

Most accelerators offer continued support

Accelerators are there to help you improve every facet of your business and this means staying with your company for at least three months to ensure that you’re applying the advice they offer and are making smart use of the funds that you’ve acquired.

This continued support is one of the main reasons why people choose to apply to accelerator programs.

Accelerators specialize in different fields

Most accelerators will differ from each other in order to provide unique and specialized services that apply to different industries.

For instance, one accelerator might be able to provide you with tech-related services, connections and mentoring while another accelerator can offer advice if you’re involved in manufacturing.

Currently, the highest growth verticals in startups include advanced manufacturing robotics, blockchains and also agricultural technologies.

If your business is related to these industries, then you’ll have an easy time finding a specialized accelerator program that has connections to that industry.

It will improve your industry knowledge

When you join an accelerator program, you will gain access to the expertise of investors, mentors, and program managers.

This could save you years of learning and making mistakes of your own, allowing entrepreneurs to fast track their success.

In fact, 71% of Fortune 500 companies have used mentors to grow their businesses.

It’s works the same way like a startup accelerator does. You get to collaborate with individuals that understand what trends and strategies work in your industry, and double down on those.

If the largest companies in the world are taking a similar approach, you should too!

It helps manage risk

What’s one of the biggest worries that every entrepreneur has?

The idea that they will fail.

There’s no guarantee in business that you will be successful. 8 out of 10 businesses don’t succeed, and accelerators help reduce this chance.

They will set you up for success by guiding your startup in the right direction, avoiding common mistakes, capitalizing on strengths, and improving your skills for the long term.

Wrapping up

If you want to learn more about the application process or the possibilities a startup accelerator program offers, the infographic below provides some helpful details.

Please include attribution to MassChallenge if you use this graphic.

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