Entrepreneurship10 February 20215 min

#WisdomWednesday: 3 reasons to get your business going with an accelerator

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Corona certainly hasn’t slowed down entrepreneurs, who are seizing on the changes of the “never normal” to bring fresh new business ideas to light. Start it @KBC’s new application round is in full swing, and we’re looking to welcome a new wave of great minds looking to make an impact. Do you need a nudge to decide whether to go for it and pitch your bright idea? This #WisdomWednesday we give you three great reasons not to wait another day:

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#1 there are so many societal problems to solve

Today’s problems require imagination, innovation and a change of mindset to tackle. It’s clear that in order to build a sustainable future, people are going to have to live and consume differently. Startups are rising to the challenge to positively impact our environment, our health and our society in areas such as these:

· Digitisation, the Internet of Things and cloud storage are open up a new world of possibilities for smart living and connected homes. For example, bcheck, which created a system built on sensors to monitor gas boilers and make maintenance predictions powered by AI. Or Shayp, which analyses water use and automatically picks up on leaks.

· Startups are also making a difference when it comes to saving our planet. Take for example circular wall systems by JuuNoo, energy startup Bolt, the circular sunglasses by Yuma Labs, just to mention a few.

· New frontiers in health and wellbeing are also being conquered by entrepreneurs: Byteflies, Fibricheck and abel.care are some of the many growing companies that made their mark on healthcare in 2020, and not a moment too soon. Just as important as physical health is our mental health, which has also suffered during lockdown. Startups like moonbird have been there to help manage stress and prevent burnout.

Big companies can’t keep up with the pace of innovation alone: they need startups for that. That’s why combining the strengths of both in an accelerator is a win-win. Our partners like KBC Bank & Insurance, Accenture and many others provide expertise and support to put startups on the fast track to expansion.

#2 a big boost for your international growth

When we say expansion, we also mean moving beyond borders. That usually means launching your product in your own country first, but not necessarily: sometimes the context in another country makes it a better place to test your product. Once it’s clear that the demand is there, the green light is on to go international.

Accelerators like Start it @KBC don’t waste any time with that, while supporting calculated risks: it’s worth taking the time to conduct thorough market research. Successful internationalisation is about more than translating your website. Every new market means taking a fresh look at your product-market fit, taking into account cultural and economic differences.

Here again, partners make a huge difference. Start it @KBC partners like FIT (Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) can help with questions on finance, pricing and distribution, while local partners can provide cultural insights and communicate effectively with local distributors.

#3 a network to help you switch gears faster

Startups in an accelerator also benefit from a huge network of founders and mentors who are already much further along in their startup journey, acting as both a supportive community and a sounding board. So you not only benefit from the advice and support of established partners, but also from startups that have been down in the trenches like you: you can learn from their successes and their failures, and the bringing together of great minds generates fresh ideas. This will save you years of time reinventing the wheel and get you to where you want to go much faster.

Besides the natural cross-pollination and network building you’ll get from attending events and sharing office space, at Start it @KBC we also have committed mentors on board dedicated to spending a certain number of hours each month mentoring our startups. Often former alumni, our mentors specialise in many different areas. Since they’ve been down the same road and built successful companies they are perfectly positioned to advise new members.

So there you go: and we’re sure you’ll find ten more reasons why accelerators give your business a boost once you sign up. Did we mention the free office space?

Ready to put your business idea on the fast track? Sign up for our next pitch wave and get ready to make it happen!