8 Reasons Why Your Social Enterprise Should Join An Accelerator
Social entrepreneurs have the heart to make a positive social impact. With an abundance of available accelerators, founders now have the opportunity to access advice, funding, and skills to really make a difference and get their organisation off the ground.
Is an accelerator right for you? Here are 8 reasons you might want to consider applying today.
8 Reasons Why Your Social Enterprise Should Join an Accelerator
Starting or operating a social enterprise is tough. When you get caught up in the day-to-day operations, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone and have no one to turn to.
However, one of the main components of most accelerators is their ability to provide comprehensive support in the form of a mentor. They’ll take the time to share their experience and knowledge with you, and will also be by your side (either virtually or in-person) to provide direction and emotional support.
They’ll also help you take a step back and begin to think about the direction your organisation is heading, and what long-term impact might look like.
Beyond the mentor(s), you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with a small group of fellow social impact workers. Your cohort of other social enterprises will be by your side during the entire process. They have experience with challenges faced in the social impact world, and they can provide a stress buffer for if/when things get tough during the accelerator program.
By working with others over a period of months, you’ll have boosted morale and a powerful motivating force built into the program. You’ll see firsthand how to overcome obstacles and have the support to do exactly that. Plus, other participants could end up as life-long friends or dedicated partners for your organisation.
An accelerator, as the name suggests, takes knowledge and accelerates it. Participants can expect to learn A LOT during the month(s)-long accelerator program.
With the wisdom of your mentors, the insight and experiences of other participants, and the targeted lessons that occur during the program, a lot can be gained to help your organisation take a more calculated, strategic approach to positive impact.
Similarly, an accelerator provides an excellent opportunity for social entrepreneurs to obtain or develop skills. In fact, many accelerators are designed to focus on specific areas for skill development—like finance, communication, sales, marketing, and even some technical skills.
By working with other accelerator participants, you’re also getting a practice round for how you can eventually disseminate these skills within your organisation’s team.
5. A Perfect Fit
With all of the different accelerator programs out there, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. You can make use of the accelerator’s main focus in order to touch up on certain skills that you’re lacking. Alternatively, you can choose an accelerator program based on its location, typical participants, level of involvement, industry or niche, or reviews from previous alumni.
To help you narrow it down, we’ve been busy collating our Australian Incubators & Accelerators for Social Impact 2.0 INSERT RESOURCE LINK!!!!!!! —a guide that has more than 90 key programs. This can cut down the difficult and time-consuming process of finding an accelerator program, and instead, allow you to focus on preparing for the program itself!
Between mentors, funders, fellow participants, presenters, and media, it’s likely that your organisation will receive an exposure boost by your participation in an accelerator program. In fact, many accelerators feature a “pitch day” or “demo day” at the end of the program where you’ll get a chance to present your organisation and its aims to a group of mentors, potential investors, customers, and the general community.
This is great exposure for your organisation and a common reason for people to get involved in accelerator programs.
7. A Springboard
Have you hit a bump in the road? Does the future direction of your organisation seem cloudy? Are you running into a situation where there’s a shortage of skills or resources to make it to the next level?
Many of us in the social impact world have been here. Growth plateaus and periods of confusion are normal, and an accelerator program can help accelerate your organisation to get you through it. The program can act as a springboard to help you develop the expertise or establish a long-term view of where you and your organisation are headed.
We know that this may seem pretty counterintuitive as your accelerator program will likely require a great deal of effort, but prepare to smile a lot. During an accelerator program, you’re going to be surrounded by new people, working in a new setting, and be exposed to a range of different insights and actionable tips. You might even get a chance to travel for it!
You’re going to be busy with activities that will benefit you as a founder, and your organisation as a whole. The experience can be, dare we say, quite fun.
Reasons Why Your Social Enterprise Should Join an Accelerator: Final Thoughts
Should you decide to apply for one, you’re taking steps towards a life-changing experience that will introduce you to new people, ideas, and goals, and support your social enterprise with the skills and knowledge to take your impact to the next level. Through the connections you make, you’ll have continued support well after the program ends.