The start-up ecosystem around the world is booming. Various factors are working in their favour, helping them thrive and grow. Agility, innovation, audacity, a strong pool of intellectuals, availability of resources, and capital-rich investors are some of the key attributes enabling startups to grow.
Startups are the harbingers of innovation; they challenge the status quo from time to time or even create new ones. However, post inception, keeping a startup floating is equally critical as they often face challenges such as financing, hiring, infrastructure, compliance, visibility, and marketing know-how. Given the global economic headwinds, it is crucial to design business strategies that provide 360-degree solutions to impending challenges. Startups have to keep multiple factors in mind, to be touted as a success. Some of them include:
• Offer differentiated value propositions to consumers amidst fierce competition
• Source a stream of investments for business continuity
• Choose the right talent that understands the objective and business goals
• Promote the idea in the right market to the right audience
• Navigate through administrative, bureaucratic, and regulatory hurdles
How can startups overcome these challenges and sustain the growth momentum?
Seeking mentorship from established companies or experienced professionals can help them immensely. Startup accelerator programs play this role to perfection, offering benefits for both the company as well as the startup.
Accelerator programs guide incubating ideas and equip startups with industry knowledge and a blueprint of what it takes to be a successful business and continue innovating. From expert knowledge to novel thinking, these accelerator programs are able to help startups build flexible solutions that have the potential of overcoming the challenges they aim to solve. Furthermore, the availability of resources like mentors aids these new ventures with a best-in-class knowledge pool to help them thrive in the real world. Initial guidance provided under these programs can prove to be crucial in the long term, while the networking opportunities help encourage/ enable an interplay of ideas.
On the other hand, established companies (or incumbents) deal with their own challenges in finding the right balance between growth and innovation; allocating resources for long-term and short-term objectives; finding niche talent for a particular function, and ingraining an outside-in innovation approach in the organization without disrupting their own culture. These companies can stay ahead of the curve by working with autonomous external organizations that are building such disruptive technologies or by designing internal processes that allow them to fail early with new ideas in the quest for innovation.
The incubator programs enable mutually beneficial give-and-take between the incumbents and the disruptive startup. In keeping with the times, most accelerators have a strong focus on technology and facilitate the adoption of Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Fintech by startups.
At the ground level, these incubator programs offer technical tools, the latest resources, and opportunities to connect with investors in upcoming startups. However, some also provide the opportunity to do paid proof-of-concepts with them as well as tactical inputs by experts on crucial aspects such as product development, technology adoption, and business scale-up. The selected startups can benefit from the opportunity to engage with the company’s product teams and, if their innovation shows promise of delivering a sizable business impact, even convert it into a commercial partnership with the company.
To achieve economic stability, every nation should encourage entrepreneurship. As a society, our collective vision should be to build and empower communities wherein entrepreneurs can network with and learn from each other. The benefactor programs are a step in that direction. A lot of great, innovative, and disruptive ideas have been incubated through such programs and continue to do so. These programs are a win-win for small and big companies and the entire business community, contributing to nation-building.