Being part of a structured accelerator program can be a game-changer for researchers and academics seeking to take their ideas into the commercial space. These programs offer invaluable resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities that can really propel startups to success.
Our ON Accelerate program one of these offerings. First launched in 2015, ON Accelerate is a 15-week program for research teams to validate and develop high potential innovative ventures. It is specifically targeted at those working in deep tech science.
To make the most of this experience, we've rounded up some advice and top tips from our newest ON Accelerate cohort of deep tech startup founders teams.
1. Clearly define your goals
Before entering an accelerator program like ON, it is crucial to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Define your goals and understand how the program aligns with them. This clarity will help you make the most of the program's resources and opportunities.
2. Engage with coaches and experts
Take advantage of the experienced coaches and experts available in the program. Engage in meaningful conversations, seek advice, and leverage their expertise. Coaches can offer valuable insights, help you avoid common pitfalls, and guide you through the challenges you may face. Actively seek feedback and be open to incorporating suggestions. Remember, they have been where you are now.
3. Collaborate with peers
Embrace collaboration with your fellow cohort participants. One of the advantages of CSIRO's ON Program is its national coverage and ability to bring together a diverse group of individuals working on various projects. Engaging in discussions, sharing knowledge, and exploring potential partnerships can provide fresh perspectives, foster innovation, and create opportunities for mutual growth.
4. Iterate and validate
Use ON’s resources to iterate and validate your business model, product, or service. Actively seek customer feedback, conduct market research, and refine your unique value proposition (UVP). The program offers a supportive environment to test and validate your ideas, enabling you to make informed decisions.
5. Leverage program resources
Take full advantage of the resources and support offered by the program. This may include access to intellectual property (IP) consultation, legal assistance, financial and investment advice, or technical expertise. Utilise these resources to strengthen your venture and overcome challenges.
6. Embrace the community
Engage with the broader deep tech startup and innovation community beyond the program's formal activities. The community can provide ongoing support, mentorship, and potential business opportunities even after the program ends.
7. Stay focused and committed
Revisit and stay focused on your goals, maintain a growth mindset, and be resilient in the face of challenges. Embrace the opportunities provided by the program, but also be prepared to put in the necessary effort to maximise your experience.
8. Be open to change
Accelerator programs often push teams out of their comfort zones and challenge their thinking. Embrace the potential discomfort and failures, and be open to new ideas, models, and ways of thinking. Being receptive to change allows for personal growth and a more positive progression of your venture.
9. Build strong relationships
Ensure all stakeholders, including your institution and team members, are aligned on the state of the venture and the desired end state before starting the program. Additionally, build relationships with other program participants outside your own team. These connections can lead to collaborations, learning opportunities, and a broader network of support.
10. Embrace the learning zone
Make the commitment, be vulnerable, and enter the learning zone. It might not always be comfortable, but it is where growth happens. Embrace the challenges, question your assumptions, and be willing to learn from both successes and failures.