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Content


The content of Accel.MN is focused on getting the foundations right for your startup to be successful.  This isn't about the legal mechanics of starting a business or coaching you to give a slick pitch to investors.  None of that matters if you build a business around an idea that isn't valuable to customers.  The goal of this program is to accelerate the refinement of your idea or early startup in 3 core ways:

Exploring thought-provoking content curated from world-class institutions, innovators and thought-leaders, and then applying it to your idea

• Discussing these concepts with experienced entrepreneurs and investors, benefiting from their insights and advice for your particular idea

• Collaboration within your cohort of talented entrepreneurs.  Given the selective nature of the program and the intimate setting, this invariably becomes the greatest asset of the program.

The sequence of topics is explained below, which consists of 6 Wednesday nights for 3 hours.

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Content


The content of Accel.MN is focused on getting the foundations right for your startup to be successful.  This isn't about the legal mechanics of starting a business or coaching you to give a slick pitch to investors.  None of that matters if you build a business around an idea that isn't valuable to customers.  The goal of this program is to accelerate the refinement of your idea or early startup in 3 core ways:

Exploring thought-provoking content curated from world-class institutions, innovators and thought-leaders, and then applying it to your idea

• Discussing these concepts with experienced entrepreneurs and investors, benefiting from their insights and advice for your particular idea

• Collaboration within your cohort of talented entrepreneurs.  Given the selective nature of the program and the intimate setting, this invariably becomes the greatest asset of the program.

The sequence of topics is explained below, which consists of 6 Wednesday nights for 3 hours.

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MODULE 1 - INTRODUCTION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP CULTURE


We'll introduce the program and you'll have a good chance to get to know your fellow participants in the cohort.  Given that this is one of the largest value propositions of the program, great emphasis is placed on facilitating those conversations and kick-starting the collaboration in the group.

Afterwards, we'll start discussing elements of entrepreneurial communities, particularly the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

MODULE 1 - INTRODUCTION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP CULTURE


We'll introduce the program and you'll have a good chance to get to know your fellow participants in the cohort.  Given that this is one of the largest value propositions of the program, great emphasis is placed on facilitating those conversations and kick-starting the collaboration in the group.

Afterwards, we'll start discussing elements of entrepreneurial communities, particularly the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

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MODULE 2 - IDENTIFYING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES


Building on the first night's topics of establishing a culture of innovation, we'll see how this impacts the market opportunities you discover.  Many successful entrepreneurs like to say they were "just lucky" or in the right place at the right time.  How can you create this strategic serendipity?

There are many things you can do in your own personal life, in your interactions with others, and within the broader community that enhance your ability to innovate.  Where do ideas come from?  How do you identify a market opportunity?  What is the value of a strong entrepreneurial culture and how can you impact it?

MODULE 2 - IDENTIFYING MARKET OPPORTUNITIES


Building on the first night's topics of establishing a culture of innovation, we'll see how this impacts the market opportunities you discover.  Many successful entrepreneurs like to say they were "just lucky" or in the right place at the right time.  How can you create this strategic serendipity?

There are many things you can do in your own personal life, in your interactions with others, and within the broader community that enhance your ability to innovate.  Where do ideas come from?  How do you identify a market opportunity?  What is the value of a strong entrepreneurial culture and how can you impact it?

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MODULE 3 - VALIDATING YOUR SOLUTION


After you've identified a potential opportunity, you need to validate your proposed solution in the market. The worst thing you could do is design a product nobody wants.

The ability to test your assumptions, gather feedback, and iterate is the fundamental building block of a startup.  Participants will learn tactical ways of getting and incorporating customer feedback. 

MODULE 3 - VALIDATING YOUR SOLUTION


After you've identified a potential opportunity, you need to validate your proposed solution in the market. The worst thing you could do is design a product nobody wants.

The ability to test your assumptions, gather feedback, and iterate is the fundamental building block of a startup.  Participants will learn tactical ways of getting and incorporating customer feedback. 

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MODULE 4 - PLANNING THE BUSINESS


Once you've determined that you do have a value proposition for customers, how do you design a business around that?

The business model canvas is used heavily by startup incubators across the world, because it works.  We'll briefly explore this classic tool, while also looking at a number of other strategic decisions facing a founder.

MODULE 4 - PLANNING THE BUSINESS


Once you've determined that you do have a value proposition for customers, how do you design a business around that?

The business model canvas is used heavily by startup incubators across the world, because it works.  We'll briefly explore this classic tool, while also looking at a number of other strategic decisions facing a founder.

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MODULE 5 - GROWING THE BUSINESS


When you have a startup that is a functioning business, providing value to customers, and showing real traction through user acquisition and/or recurring revenue, it's time to pour gas on the fire.  

How do you scale?  How do you find funding?  Who do you hire? These are some issues we'll discuss as well as potential pitfalls to avoid. 

MODULE 5 - GROWING THE BUSINESS


When you have a startup that is a functioning business, providing value to customers, and showing real traction through user acquisition and/or recurring revenue, it's time to pour gas on the fire.  

How do you scale?  How do you find funding?  Who do you hire? These are some issues we'll discuss as well as potential pitfalls to avoid. 

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Module 6 - Group Pitch


This is the module that brings it all together and really harnesses the power of the group.  After learning and discussing the content from the previous 5 modules, we'll take a week break before this capstone session.  Each participant will take two weeks to go off and apply the content and lessons to the specific idea or startup that they've been incubating in preparation for this night. 

The format for the final night will be a group pitch session, where each participant pitches the idea they've refined throughout the program to the group and receives rapid-fire feedback.  It's a very unique and valuable opportunity to have this kind of cumulative perspective all focused on your idea.

Module 6 - Group Pitch


This is the module that brings it all together and really harnesses the power of the group.  After learning and discussing the content from the previous 5 modules, we'll take a week break before this capstone session.  Each participant will take two weeks to go off and apply the content and lessons to the specific idea or startup that they've been incubating in preparation for this night. 

The format for the final night will be a group pitch session, where each participant pitches the idea they've refined throughout the program to the group and receives rapid-fire feedback.  It's a very unique and valuable opportunity to have this kind of cumulative perspective all focused on your idea.