Typically, an accelerator receives hundreds of applications and actually funds a few companies per year. However, often, the funded companies do not know what to do with the funding. They end up wasting the money.
We recommend that accelerators structure their programs in stages.
In the first stage, entrepreneurs apply for scholarships to the 1Mby1M Premium program.
Only after going through the 1Mby1M Premium Program for some time and showing definitive progress would entrepreneurs get access to further funding from the accelerator.
Based on our experience, we recommend the following four-step process:
We have seen that programs that have a specific focus on immersing the entrepreneurs from their communities in the Free Public Roundtables tend to have a higher rate of success.
With that in mind, we recommend that after you launch your program, you provide a six-week window when entrepreneurs are invited by email to attend the roundtables.
We also recommend that you take roundtable attendance into account in judging the applications.
It is important that entrepreneurs APPLY to be part of the accelerator.
Through the six week immersion, we expect that entrepreneurs have learnt what the program is all about, and whether they are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to work within its framework.
1Mby1M has worked well for those entrepreneurs who have the capacity for online learning and rigorous study.
It is like a gym membership. We have machines, but entrepreneurs have to work out to get in shape. They better make the commitment to doing the work outs, or they will waste the scholarships you will give them. The program involves a lot of self-learning and personal discipline.
In the application, we want the entrepreneurs to answer the questions in our Self Assessment to get a feel for whether they’re a good match for the program.
We also want to know what expectations they come with, and what commitment they can make to put in the work required to be successful.
We recommend that you provide a set of scholarships to the Premium Program ($1000 per year per entrepreneur team). [Read What To Expect From The Premium Program.]
For those that will NOT win scholarships to the Premium Program, you could point them to the Basic (curriculum-only) Program and advise them to reapply for Premium after some studying. They can pay for their own Basic membership. It costs only $99/month. They can also pay for their own Premium Program membership ($1000/year), which you could point them to as well.
Through the Premium, besides the online curriculum, they also have access to our network of investors, as well as potential customers, channel partners, media, analysts, and other advisors. And they have access to the private roundtables for project-specific mentoring.
The incentive for funding is built-in. As soon as the company is ready, we will bring them back to speak with you to evaluate their funding prospects.
We recommend that you run a 1Mby1M challenge twice a year.