StartUp Accelerator Programs: A fast-track to business growth

Forum for Innovation Incubation Research and Entrepreneurship (FiiRE) will be having its Cohort 2 of The Goa Tourism Accelerator and is expected to provide an impetus to the tourism sector and empower its stakeholders

The word ‘Startup’ brings to mind motivated entrepreneur/s with novel ideas and an innovative mindset, ready to build a new business and be successful. There is a journey to be made before a startup can achieve some degree of traction and move towards growth.

In the fertile entrepreneurial space today, accelerator programs have emerged as the much-needed boosters to the startup ecosystem. Accelerators are short-term intensive programs, that help early stage startups to engage in a set of activities and systems that drive growth in the shortest time possible. These programs are fast-paced and intensive and provide support with expert guidance, industry specific know-how, funding, market access and more.
India has become well-known for its startup ecosystem and 2022 saw an addition of 23 $1Bn unicorn startups (as of September 2022)

Given the intense activity around this space, business accelerators and incubators, is aiding the cogent development of these businesses.
Accelerator Programs provide support to startups through funding, mentoring and training. Typically, their objectives are to aid the businesses to grow and turn profitable at the earliest; and start making a return on investment.

Business Acceleration Programs also furnish, along with equity investments:
1) Access to non-equity funding options.
2) Location and office for usage of the business.
3) Mentors to aid their development.
4) Network development avenues.
These Business Accelerator programs normally range between 2 to 6 months. Some of them could even stretch up to a year. Some other support areas could include:
1) Development of skills by working alongside other similar businesses.
2) Immersion programs with other startups to learn and imbibe.
Accelerators can help fast-track learning in a short period of time, thereby shortening the learning curve, with access to ideas that may otherwise take several years.

Here are the key areas that you need to evaluate if you are a startup looking to accelerate your business growth journey:
1. Evaluation of suitability based on the sector expertise that the Acceleration program provides.
2. Location suitability to test your product.
3. Evaluation of the business objectives that the accelerator program focuses on.
4. Access to larger markets via mentor connect and/or funding support

While accelerator programs provide value to startups at all stages of their growth, a lot of the programs are focused on the pre-revenue stage, thus providing a huge benefit at the beginning of a startup journey.
Startups that want to join an accelerator program need to fulfill pre-determined criteria and post submitting their application they are invited to undertake the intensive program along with other selected startups. Well-designed accelerator programs, designed by incubators with experience and reach, will ensure expert guest speakers, mentorship hours, access to shared co-working space and other facilities like a design lab, and conference/meeting rooms.

The Accelerator program usually concludes with a ‘Demo Day’, where the accelerated startups are invited to present their work and given valuable feedback.
In Goa for instance, FiiRE – Forum for Incubation, Innovation, Research, and Entrepreneurship, has announced its 2nd Cohort of the Goa Tourism Accelerator 2022. With a vision of helping Tourism Tech Startups to take-off, FiiRE is amongst the premier TourismTech accelerators in Goa and pursues the objective of supporting tech founders to design and scale tourism tech innovations in various segments including sustainability, mobility, operational efficiency, new payment solutions, amongst others for future-proofing the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry.
Cohort 2 of The Goa Tourism Accelerator for 2022 is expected to provide an impetus to the tourism sector and empower its stakeholders. This 12-week accelerator program is designed to help redefine the Go-To-Market strategy for startups with some traction or apply their solution to the industry for the first time.

The first edition of the Accelerator program helped identify 14 startups which included names like Digitour, Momingly, Srishti Lifescience, Zodhya, Campper, Instio, Revio, Highway Delite,, Travstack, Offbeat Tracks, Lokaso Media, 10Times.

FiiRE combines its rich experience in startup incubation with industry experts in the field of tourism and tourism technology to provide a robust ecosystem for acceleration and support of TourismTech startups. In terms of collaborations in the TourismTech space, FiiRE supports startups with collaborations with organisations like Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, Startup Promotion Cell and NABARD.
Effective mentorship has been identified by FiiRE as the key element to help start-ups steer away from known challenges, test the viability of their tech solutions and guide business strategy.

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