28th February 2020.
It’s Friday, 4.30pm in Berlin.
The High-Tech SeedLab Accelerator team is putting the finishing touches on their event preparation to kick-off their 2020 Batch. It is the first time that the seven selected startup teams meet each other and find out exactly what kind of support they will receive over the coming 10 months.
It is the second time that the High-Tech SeedLab (resident with AtomLeap) receives funding from the Berliner Startup Stipend to support early-stage entrepreneurs in Berlin. So far, four batches with 17 startups have gone through the accelerator. Each time both the teams and the acceleration program undergo a collaborative learning journey.
- What we would like to do better this time? Encourage collaboration and team spirit between the participating founders.
- How we will achieve this? By laying the foundation and providing spaces for collaboration from the very start of the accelerator.
Peer Support – #1 Benefit of Acceleration Programs
Just last week we discovered The Keystone – a Podcast for Ecosystem Builders. In Episode 4 from last year, the host Yuval Yarden discusses the main benefits entrepreneurs receive from acceleration programs with Beth McKeon, founder of Fluent.
Peer support and learning headed the list of benefits, followed by financial support and co-working space. Specifically, Beth McKeon identified three main areas of how a peer group is beneficial:
- Setting the pace – acceleration programs create a fast-paced environment where learning and growth are accelerated. Being part of a peer group encourages you to keep pushing when you see other founders around you succeed with you.
- Learning and skill-sharing – being part of a diverse group of people in a very close vicinity means that you gain access to a vast set of skills and knowledge. As people from all walks of life participate in acceleration programs, they can help each other fill the gap of competencies a single startup might be experiencing.
- Emotional support – starting a business is a tough job. Having other people go through it with you (that are not members of your immediate team) offers the emotional support structures you sometimes need to not give up and keep pushing. And in general – having more people support your idea and cheering you on from the sideline is always a good thing to have.
This was not only educational to listen to but supported our hypothesis that we need to create a close bond between the participants of the 2020 Batch to unlock all possible pluses our program provides.
How to Incorporate Peer Learning in an Accelerator
Listening to the Podcast episode also confirmed that our program structure was on the right track. We chose the following formats to create a close-knit group and space for exchange, learning and collaboration:
- Kick-off event with a pitching session as well as a team-building exercise
- Entrepreneurial Challenge to set-up the work environment at the coworking space
- Weekly Group Standup to share last weeks’ successes and prepare for the challenges in the week ahead
- Fluent structure for peer learning events and sharing skills with the group
- Regular team events throughout the year
It’s Friday, 5 pm in Berlin.
The first startup pitches their idea. 25 people listen intently, curious to understand each other’s ideas, eager to learn and grow together. Following the pitching sessions, our entrepreneurs bond over a hands-on challenge and continued to discuss and socialize over pizza and beer.
The foundation for peer learning is established.
Do you want to turn your idea into a business and be part of a motivated group of like-minded entrepreneurs? Applications for the High-Tech SeedLab Batch 2021 open in October 2020. If you have questions about the program or your application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you exploring new peer learning formats in your acceleration program? We’d love to chat and exchange notes. Contact us via email@example.com.