The biggest misconception about startup accelerators is that they’re all the same, River City Labs entrepreneur-in-residence Aaron Birkby says.
The Brisbane startup hub will be holding an inaugural accelerator educational panel on Thursday and Birkby says it’s all about showing entrepreneurs what’s on offer at the various accelerators.
“Every program is different,” Birkby tells StartupSmart.
Birkby says not all accelerators are equal and each has its own unique networks.
According to Startup Muster, a quarter of Australian startups use an accelerator and Birkby hopes this number will grow.
“They’re incredibly valuable if they’re done right,” he says.
More than 150 people have already signed on for the Understanding Brisbane’s Startup Accelerator Programs night which will feature guests from BlueChilli’s Colaborate program, which focuses on enterprise, iLab Germinate, socially-conscious Impact Academy and the QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.
Birkby says some of the key benefits these accelerators offer are connections to customers, market advisors and investors, accountability in setting and executing goals, as well as education through workshops and classes by a range of experts.
At River City Labs, the program focuses on traction growth, scaling ventures to a global stage and training or support around ideation, product building and articulating differences, he says.
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia CEO Anna Rooke says their accelerator is one of a kind in Australia being one of the pioneering programs focused specifically on fashion.
She says the upcoming panel will be an excellent introduction to Queensland accelerators.
“It’s a great way of finding out all in one night the variety of different programs that are out there,” Rooke tells StartupSmart.
“If you’re thinking about setting up a company or have always been curious around what an accelerator actually offers it’s a great change to find out more.”
The best way to decide if an accelerator is suited to your startup is to look beyond how much funding they can give you access to, Birkby says.
“Look at things that actually matter,” he says.
He says good way to do this is by speaking to accelerator alumni to learn how much traction they got through the program and how much they grew week on week.
“Also look at the network of programs,” Birkby says.
“Who are the mentors? Who are the advisors? Who are the investors?”