Over the course of the next few months I will be walking through some of our organization’s thoughts on building the local innovation ecosystem, shedding some light into how we do what we do, and answering any questions along the way. If you missed my first post, you can check it out HERE.
Today, I answer the question:
“Why the heck does WEtech run an annual Accelerator?”
Now, many of you may be asking questions to yourself: What the heck is an accelerator? Or Windsor has a small Tech scene, why the heck are they doing this? Or maybe even, what makes this unique?
If you are you’re not alone, we actually asked ourselves many of those questions as we started out, but today I’m going to quickly and simply unpack why we run ScaleUP, and some of our learnings along the way.
First things first. We are a young ecosystem in Windsor-Essex and Chatham Kent when it comes to consistently producing high quality technology Startups. We know that, there are reasons for that (a topic for another blog certainly), but that DOES NOT mean that we do not produce them. Therefore, we need specific supports, that aren’t generic, or high level, that support these entrepreneurs in rapidly scaling their ventures. That requires: Capital, Intensive Coaching, Ecosystem Alignment, and Cohorting.
Capital as the fuel, intensive coaching to build the systems that can scale alongside their ventures, ecosystem alignment to ensure that supports in our community flow to the right Startups, and Cohorting to create a sense of community and camaraderie that pushes our founders to be the best versions of themselves in a concentrated amount of time.
Oh yeah, one more thing, 51.5% of Startups fail in their first three years. And when you think about it that makes sense. Often times, a Startup is a framework of ideas that need testing in order to validate or invalidate them. You can think of a Startup being more closely related to a science experiment than a traditional enterprise business. You have your hypothesis, your best guesses, and then you have methods that have been created to help you test out your best guesses in the real world.
The ScaleUP Tech Accelerator was designed with this volatility in mind. We do our best to create world class programming that provides the counterpoint to the most common reasons of that failure.
• To combat startups launching to the wrong market or demographic, we provide access to a market intelligence portal, with unlimited access to a team of 20 data scientists who’s only job is to deliver data.
• To combat a lack of real world research, companies who enter the ScaleUP Accelerator have to prove that they have growing traction on their ideas acting as a filter.
• To combat cost management, we teach our startups to plan all of their validation methods around no cost or low cost solutions – we also teach a method of business growth that focusses in on investment only when the venture understands what investment really means.
• To combat the plague of bad marketing, we bring in a team of marketing mentors that have worked with companies like Disney, Fiat Chrysler, And the CN Tower, but who also have a deep understanding of the Startup lifecycle, and how best to create impact on limited funds.
Combine that with 24/7 access to your WEtech advisor and the results speak for themselves.
Over the past four years, ScaleUP Grads have:
• Brought in $19M in revenue
• Engaged over 8.7 million users
• Brought 122 New Products and Services to Market
• Hired 151 Employees
Check out what the last cohort had to say about their experiences:
As you can see, all along the way we have grown our local ecosystem partnerships, learned a ton, and made some lifelong friends. Most importantly we leveraged our entrepreneurial assets in Windsor-Essex and Chatham Kent to drive economic impact and prosperity.
If you’re interested in learning more about the startups and their experiences check out our library of videos outlining the cohorts, and if you think you’re ready for an intensive four month sprint yourself, applications are going to be opening soon for this fall, so stay tuned!