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You have a start-up, it’s the latest Bytedance and it is going to redefine an industry. All you need is a little help to get on the right path.

Along comes an accelerator that looks perfect for your business and will rocket the company’s traction.

What’s not to like?

It is certainly true that an accelerator can teach founders core business skills, boost product development, access clients, investors and introduce you to a like-minded network.

However, not all accelerators are equal, many will promise you the world, but in reality, when you examine them closely the promises and the success stories simply do not stack up.

Does that mean that as a founder you should avoid them?

Absolutely not, but you should be very careful about selecting the right one. One that understands your business, has proven success in the field that you are in.

Founders need to think of accelerators as long-term partners and select them with that in mind.

How do I select one that is worthwhile?

As with anything you might need to kiss a few frogs!

Talk to companies that have taken part before. If the program works, then they will be able to demonstrate success and will be proud of their alumni and want you to talk to them.

You will know that it is the right one when you see what their previous success looks like.

 How much does it cost?

Most accelerators are free, in fact many will offer some form of investment as part of the deal.

Be wary of those programmes that take equity just to be part of the program. They may well be able to show you success but that does not necessarily translate to success for you.

Another route is that the accelerator will take a percentage of the revenues that it helps generate, since without them you would not have the revenues, this is a perfectly reasonable model.

The best model is investment from the start and hopefully they will successfully introduce you to more investors through the program.

Are they not all just ‘a flash in the pan’?

No, the good ones are in this for the long term. They are partners whose help and expertise you can call on not just during the program but in the hard years that follow.

You want an accelerator that will hold your hand and walk with you helping make the business a success not just today but in 5 years from now.

If you are considering engaging with an accelerator or seeking advice regarding your growth strategy and would like to discuss your options then drop me, Ian Kenny a line and we can start with an informal conversation.