Last week we got to welcome 72 new startups at our Bootcamp: a full house, and a full program! Our startups got a good taste of what’s to come over the next year, and of course did lots of good networking already. But what were the highlights? Catch them here!
Harnessing the power of the network
After lots of planning and organisation led by team member Christof, it was time to jump right in! COO Mieke Daniels kicked off Bootcamp, sharing the Start it mindset with founders: she emphasised the importance of paying it forward and making a positive impact, our no-strings-attached approach, and that respect is a two-way street. Mieke also outlined the ins and outs of the accelerator program and what startups can expect along their accelerator journey.
Start it Accelerate is all about the network, so we really wanted to bring everyone together. For example, superstar alumni Luka Bresseel (Okono) and Tessa van Meerten (Foodprepper) were present to share their experiences and tips & tricks. Our startups also got to connect with our valuable partners at the partner fair to discuss how they could make the most of their services.
But the network magic can be found in the little things too: founders got a kickstart from a ginger shot by our startup Pow Nutrition, and we served a healthy, tasty lunch prepared by our alumnus Djar!
Equipping startups with the right know-how
A big network of inspiring entrepreneurs is guaranteed to generate lots of precious knowledge and advice! Start it @KBC has got you covered when it comes to valuable insights. For example our business coaches who got to know our startups from Day One, depending on which hub they will be working from. Having honed their pitches during Pitch Days, the founders now pitched their startups to each other for one minute so that everyone could get to know each other better.
Also our team member, learning expert and Head of the Start it Academy Ellen Bruyninckx explained what the Academy does and how founders can get the most out of it. Our awesome Academy offers sessions one to two days a month and recommended sessions as desired. On top of that Expert in the Cloud gives startups one-on-one access to experts on various topics. For our Start it @KBC accelerator, the Academy has put together a fine curriculum for the first three months, focusing on the basics needed to meet the challenges startups will face. Founders will attend sessions on a wide range of topics, from customer development to funding your future. These help build their expertise and knowledge as an entrepreneur.
A glimpse of what’s in store
The one-year Start it @KBC program is full of learning, and we wanted to give startups a taste of what’s to come. No one better than team member and business coach Dirk Lievens to give everyone an explanation about the lean startup, followed by a workshop led by business coaches Nadia, Sabine, Ludo, Dirk, Christophe, Jo, Inge and Jim!
So what is the lean startup all about? The lean startup methodology is a feedback-driven method of managing and building startups by experimenting, testing, and iterating. It shortens product development cycles and lets you quickly discover if your proposed business model is viable. Founders develop strong entrepreneurial survival skills as they pass through their initial enthusiasm, through the “trough of sorrow” as they get to the point where their product or service starts working, up and away to scaling after reaching product market fit.
Mentor Michael Humblet gave a session full of inspiration about building a scalable sales machine, about which you will soon see a blog on our website. Next up was a workshop on the biggest challenges startups can expect over the coming year, and what pitfalls to look out for: dealing with startup challenges like sales, how to deal with the startup life rollercoaster, and the right way to approach networking. They might also face issues around forming a company culture and the transition from founding to working in a company. Startups were also told to expect challenges around prioritisation and being efficient, as well as how to deal with frustration and to be an effective leader. Founders were advised to collect their questions, build trust and get to know their peers. It’s important that they dive right into the community, while not forgetting about their wellbeing as a founder.
Running a business can be lonely and mentally tough, so it’s important to focus on wellbeing too. That’s why our Bootcamp program was also filled with fun and relaxation: startups could choose either a Nerf gun competition or a yoga session! Team member Aurélien Troonbeeckx also gave a workshop about unconditional love in the context of wellbeing, leaving everyone savouring the good vibes.
So what’s next? Now the program is off to a flying start, and startups can start getting everything out of their accelerator journey to take their business to the next level.
While we say hello to fresh faces, we say congrats and see you around to our second wave of 2021, who are graduating soon: register for the graduation and join in the celebration!