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Setting goals is a pretty easy activity. Startups master it very well as they have no history so they can predict whatever. That is why mentors and people like me insist on validation. It was no different for myself when starting Now Sprint! Accelerator. My goal was to find early-stage teams and push them towards the next level, be it giving up on their idea, make them ready for investment, or my favourite, prepare them for a money-based, international accelerator. Running an international online accelerator would have been a far fetched dream in 2019. Today with all the effects of Covid-19 we were able to put that dream into reality and started our first cohort in June 2020. …

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I guess by now we understand that complaining in a corner is not going to help you. That is why I love the quote from John Wooden. His coaching philosophy was a simple one, and he believed that many coaches over complicate things. His view was that basketball is a simple game, so why make it complicated? He said: “I think the coach’s job is to prepare players to play and then let them do it. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail. That easy. …

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Almost 8 years ago I moved from Belgium to Türkiye, not so much because of the country but because of emotions and closing a chapter. People still get surprised when I explain that I moved to Türkiye because of love and discovered many other great reasons after the move. One of the things that surprised me a lot in Türkye was the size of everything, from bridges to shopping malls to universities. Specifically for universities also the presence of private universities and what completely struck me was the cost of a good education. There are very good state universities but limited and an amazing number of private secondary schools. …

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A survey by Coworker of more than 14,000 coworking spaces across 172 countries resulted in: 72% said they had seen a decrease in the number of people working from their space since the Covid-19 outbreak. 41% of coworking spaces reported a negative impact on membership and contract renewals since the outbreak. A further 67% of spaces have experienced a drop in the number of new membership enquiries.

I remember when we started working on the business plan of our own coworking we did what corporates did when they discovered the open space work environment. Squeeze as many people in the square meters you had to optimise the profit. As such nothing wrong (can be discussed). We saw many coworking spaces we visited doing the same, some with 2,5m2 for 3 coworkers. You better all take a shower before going there. Open space, small offices, meeting rooms and community building were the ingredients. …

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For each of the bootcamps, accelerator programs we did in the last years, covering more than 1 day, connecting, communication and sharing have been a struggle. The more communication platforms are used, the less efficient the whole process. Even sending a letter by post was more efficient 40 years ago and receiving a fax was a moment of delight with an immediate response. In our last Now Sprint! Accelerator program I opted for WhatsApp (mentors did not want, so only startups teams), email, direct and through HubSpot whereas the latter was sent most of the time to the spam folder so I had to ask through direct mail, so one by one in Gmail, to add patrick@nowsprintaccelerator.com to their contacts. For sharing, I opted for Google Drive where everybody had his/her folder combining nice to haves with the exercises. I was not happy with the efficiency at all. Some of the participants are just on it and always an immediate response, others had to be reminded most of the time through Whatsapp directly. The shared folder as such is great but for 12 teams I was each time doing 12 times the same thing. Or folders were suddenly empty and I got homework through email. …

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Posted August 18th, 2020, for Stage-Co

Based on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), early-stage teams will be selected and go through an intense acceleration program to get ready for impact and success.

Now Sprint! Accelerator, a program created by Stage-Co Masters announced that applications are now open for the fully online Startup Accelerator program, starting September 8th, 2020.

Stage-Co is Turkiye’s leading startup platform but the program is international, aiming to give a global outlook to all teams from the day they apply. The second edition of the Now Sprint! …

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We started with 11 teams from 9 countries and finished with 8 teams from 7 countries outperforming themselves in front of the jury. All online. Many thanks to TRAngels with Hale and Namik, Elif for Atanova Ventures, Can for String Ventures and Christoph for MotionLab.Berlin for spending their Saturday afternoon with us and giving very useful feedback. The teams were: I am Heuristic (India), Cha Paper (Türkiye), Innovia Digital (Northern Cyprus), Night Out (India), Be Boucha (Ukraine), Caddie Engineering (Bulgaria) and Justice 4.0 (South Africa). Yes we had winners of course but for me, all 8 teams did a great job. The jury selected Caddie Engineering as the winner, followed by Night Out and Cha Paper. Congratz to all 8 of them. We had one team from Zambia with a very bad internet connection who gave up, 1underperforming team that I asked to stop the program and 1 team who had internal issues and didn’t pitch. …

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We are entering our last week in our 1-month Now Sprint! Accelerator Program. It has been an amazing journey with learnings on both sides. The Pitch Day is on the 4th of July and we will immediately start preparing the 2nd cohort for September. We had great guest workshops by Yasemin, Eren and Branka and the last week is all about KPIs and preparing the pitch deck. Very exciting!

We are very lucky to have an amazing volunteer, based in Vancouver, Canada. Zoe Leung is doing very important work as to help prepare the next Program and trying to understand the sentiment of the teams. She is using Surveys that bring very good insights but what makes me most happy of all are the feedbacks in our Whatsapp Group. Of course, the idea is to have a positive impact on the teams so they get better on their road to success. The lack of direct contact is often a pity but somehow I could create a bond with all teams and I even dare to say that I understand their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. A message like above is also what makes me thick. C8H11NO2 or Dopamine plays a big role in how we feel pleasure. And even I need that and what is more, I get it each time we collaborate. …

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When we set up Now Sprint! Accelerator we aimed to help anyone who is interested in becoming an entrepreneur, from local to startup in the early stage. We align as much as possible with the SDGs and target Eastern Europe, Balkan, Africa and Central Asia. Very ambitious indeed. We also thought of positive discrimination towards women and refugee founders. That still feels awkward as I prefer to see everybody as equal but our origin and our culture do have a big impact on equality. At a Seedstars event, I was a panel leader and I asked the investors in the panel if where you come from makes a difference in your chances of becoming a successful entrepreneur/startup. To my surprise, they kind of repeated this American Dream scenario that anyone can be the next big company owner. I tried to counter-attack but to no prevail. …

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It would take too much time and space to highlight every partner and mentor although I wished I could as all are as important. On the other hand, the startup teams want to know who are the investors as they want to hear numbers, money numbers. Quite understandable as they want to spend their precious time in the best way possible with the highest return, finding an investor. I would rather advise them first to get the product/market fit right, full validation and tested MVP. Sounds a bit boring off course but that is the reality we experience every day.

The first partner I want to highlight is TRAngels as they are the biggest Angels network we have as a partner but also the biggest in Türkiye in number of members. About 5 years ago we saw a big boom in Angel Networks in Türkiye. Now that the dust has settled we see only a few of them active and growing. To my own surprise, being full-time active since 2013 in Türkiye in the startup ecosystem, I only heard of TRAngels years later. Communication and branding was never their key activity and I hope that will change now that Atakan Atalar, who became a partner, is now responsible for getting TRAngels on the billboards. …

About

patrick bosteels

Stage-Co, Urla Coworking and Now Sprint! Accelerator co-founder, CoderDojo Turkiye co-founder, Facilitator, Accelerator Program Manager and Mentor

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