Before diving into what you will actually get by spending your time with us during a couple of intense pre-acceleration weeks, I believe it would be helpful for any founder to have some insights into why are we (still) doing StepFWD!
Being honest and straight to the point are 2 things that we value and proactively practice, as they are the fundamental things in working towards achieving our mission.
So what better way to layout all our cards, but by oversharing some info from our internal talks and decisions.
Here goes nothing…
After 3 years of doing StepFWD, with all the troubles and tribulations a small company faces – yes, we have our own struggles as well – we were wondering if it’s worth continuing this project. Although we have successfully brought it this far, the questions still remained: why should we put our energy into it going forward?
TL;DR: We like it. No, we love helping entrepreneurs grow. And damn that we don’t enjoy when we get a confirmation from anybody that tells us that we to do a good job – so please keep them coming 😅
But if we were to go into more detail, we each have our personal motivations.
- Gege is super happy when she brings new founders and mentors together, and magic happens. She is grateful when the participants become real entrepreneurs and when everybody coagulates into a truly helpful community.
- Daniel lives and breaths community. He is the most humble and helpful person the ecosystem has ever had. For years he has been helping the startup community in any way possible.
- Alexandra is a lifelong founder but also a mentee that has benefited greatly from startup programs. She wants diverse founders to have access to the best resources and a sustainable way of doing business.
- Ana, although is joining us only this year, is eager to be part of this dynamic environment and to grow alongside the founders going through our programs.
- I’ve tried the founder path 3 times already, and although unsuccessful so far, I don’t want to stay far from the fun. Also, the 2 things I like to do professionally are organizing stuff & helping people, which are the basses for all StepFWD activities.
Once everybody clearly stated their position going forward, I was determined to take on the quest of leading StepFWD by assuming the position and responsibilities of Program Director. And with new leadership, more often than not, a company adopts a bit of the personality of the ones leading it.
What I hope to lend to StepFWD is more focus on where it will be heading, being more honest and straightforward, and doubling down on involving people that are professional, respectful, and willing to give first while at the same time staying humble.
StepFWD in 2022
Our improved mission states that we grow the number of diverse startup teams by teaching them “how to” startup properly, facilitating the connection with experienced mentors, and making them investible.
We knew that in order to achieve our objectives, we shouldn’t just focus our efforts only on the pre-accelerator, but try to do more for the community by opening up our programs to more startups. That’s why this year we’ve been running a series of Crash Programs where we could offer the same practical help as the startups that go through the pre-accelerator get.
To tie it all together and make things happen we had to add the right partners in the mix. So that’s why we’re grateful to Google for Startups, Orange Romania, and Algolia for believing in us and supporting us to help startups with diverse teams to step forward in their business.
Our ultimate vision is to have an ecosystem where it’s ok to take care of yourself as a founder and to be guided by principles and values all along the way. The StepFWD entrepreneurs will be the living models that support this sustainable way of doing entrepreneurship.
What do you get?
Now that you have the context, let’s see what you will specifically get if you decide to pre-accelerate with us?
- Startup guidance → You’ll have a clear structure for what you need to do next. Also, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts to scale your business (inter)nationally
- Honest feedback → Experienced entrepreneurs will share how they made it. Industry experts will help with any tiny / big problem
- Tailored mentoring → Every week, we and your lead mentor we’ll work on your business and actively connect you to the people you need help from
- Investment readiness → You’ll learn how investors run their ‘business’ and what they look for. Pitching to them will become second nature
- Resources & perks → You’ll have access to a curated list of startup resources and freebies from useful tech solutions
- StepFWD support → You’ll have access to the community whenever you need it. Also, every 3 months, we’ll poke around to see your progress and how can we help further
You can check a detailed description of the activities of the program and the full schedule here.
What you don’t get?
We can’t cover everything that your startup will ever need, so it would be fair to point out from the start what we promise that you won’t get from the pre-accelerator.
- Irrelevant theory → We’ve selected the relevant early-stage startup content delivered in a 20% theory and 80% working on your startup format
- Decisions made for you → The StepFWD team and your Lead Mentor will act as your advisors, but you have to make the final call
- Work done for you → Mentors will give feedback on your plans, problems, and working documents. It’s you who has to move your startup forward
- Burnout → We will ALWAYS prioritize taking care of you as a founder to working yourself into exhaustion. Happy founder = (higher chance of) startup success
Now if you still have any questions about StepFWD or are not sure if you should apply to the pre-accelerator, then message me anytime either on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s have a chat.
If you think that the StepFWD pre-accelerator is what you and your startup need next, then apply and we’ll get back to you with the next steps of the selection process.