Prior to the launch of Y- Combinator in 2005, entrepreneurs had to figure out their startup development journey on their own. There were no mainstream startup blueprint programs aside from the theoretical ones offered in business schools. Today there are over 400+ accelerators around the world and they are shaping local entrepreneurial communities in more ways then we could ever imagine. As startup communities embrace the onset of more localized programs, networks like the Global Startup Ecosystem will become more necessary.
In an effort to increase exposure of local startups to global investors and resources, Global Startup Ecosystem launched the first digital accelerator in 7 major regions around the world in 2016. Entrepreneurs from the Caribbean, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and Americas were welcomed to join the platform via a competitive online process.
As a digital accelerator- the program is run entirely online. Each online accelerator program begins with a full startup development boot camp covering ideation, product development, marketing, customer acquisition, funding, and branding. The core goal of the boot camp is to share insightful tips for entrepreneurs. Some of the top 3 tactics shared are the following:
1. Get creative with funding. Leverage funding databases like F6s, and YouNoodle by outlining at least 50 competitions that you qualify for and set them on a calendar date for the year. Spend one weekend or 72 hours applying to all of them in bulk. Save your answers. This becomes an automatic funding application blue print for future opportunities. Furthermore, be saavy and turn your bills into funding by seeking startup capital from magazines you subscribe to or credit cards you use for purchases.
2. Save on marketing costs. Many entrepreneurs attend or pitch at dozens of startup events to get marketing exposure. Don't get caught up in the hype and go to every startup event. It costs money and time that you need to build your company. Instead, plan out your entire year of events that should be attended in person and events that can be accessed via live stream. Consider tweeting speakers and participants during the day of the live stream events.
3. Leverage free expertise. If you are struggling with digital marketing, learn it on skill share. Platforms like this one offer 3 months free to new members. Entrepreneurs need skilled teams and it's best that teams have free insights from online course databases like Udemy that teaches full-scale courses at $10, and Udacity that focuses on top technologies of the future.
Tactics like these are shared throughout the program. The boot camp is followed by workshops and guest keynotes from Silicon Valley based programs coordinators, Forbes list entrepreneurs, localized startup organizers and key investors. The program concludes with a demo day where the top ten companies pitch in front of judges from across the region for top prizes, press features, and investment introductions.
“The future is digital, so startup ecosystems in emerging markets need to take advantage of programs like this one” says Christine Souffrant Ntim, “we launched digital accelerators for entrepreneurs of emerging markets to close the resource gap and diversify global startup success stories”.
As an entrepreneur with roots in Haiti, Christine Souffrant Ntim launched the pilot accelerator in the Caribbean on July 11-13, 2016. With over 100o+ applicants the program expanded to Latin America on December 5-6, 2016 and the Middle East on December 17-18, 2016.
Each program concluded with an inspiring keynote by the founder of Bold Emerge Capital- Einstein Ntim. The core subject of the talk was Mental Health and entrepreneurship to address the psychological weight of building a company from scratch that offers top mental strength strategies.
The accelerator programs continues its expansion to Africa (Jan 9-10), Asia ( Jan 23-24), Europe (Jan 25-26), and America ( Jan 30-31). 100 startups are accepted in each region out of an applicant pool of thousands. Post the program, data and insights are sent to regional influencers, incubators and accelerators to support startup innovation programming in the future.
When asked why launch digital accelerators online in contrast to the current status quo of having local programs, the founder replied “Currently 3 billion people are online and 75% spend their time on mobile devises. In the next few years, 4 billion people will join the online community. Entrepreneurship will play a major role in the lives of future generations and it is critical to have stable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Startup communities will leverage the web for cross collaboration, resources and innovation. We aim to be the digital bedrock of this movement”-says, Christine Souffrant Ntim.
About: Global Startup Ecosystem provides digital programs for startup ecosystems in 7 regions around the world including- Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Middle East, America, Europe, and Latin America. The organization provides data insights and pipeline applications for regional programs such as accelerators, incubators, and startup event organizers. Seasonal offerings and pitch competitions vary by region and country. All service offerings culminate with the annual Digital Startup Ecosystem Summit where 1000+ program graduates and 10,000 startup influencers culminate for the largest digital startup event in the world.
About the founders: Christine Souffrant Ntim is a Haitian-American entrepreneur with over 7 years business management experience across 30+countries. She was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30, AdAge 40 Under 40, and Caribbean Change Makers 30 Under 30 in 2016. She is an award winning keynote speaker who founded Vendedy and chairs the board of the Global Startup Ecosystem. Einstein Ntim is a Ghanian-British investor who speaks on Ai technology and Mental Health. He was listed as Ghana’s Future Leaders 30 Under 30, #1 at Draper University, and Class Speaker at Singularity University at NASA.