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Acceleration programs have to be outcome-based

An integral part of an acceleration program design comes from listening to the entrepreneurs participating in it. This is an excerpt from the conversation with Aarti Rastogi, Founder at Artinci.

Supriya : Do cohort based programs help entrepreneurs like you to learn? If yes, what are the three most important kinds of learnings you have had so far.

Aarti : I attended the GAME 's first cohort. I had some great learnings from there - where I felt the personal transformation of going from being a product-focused entrepreneur to being a business-focused entrepreneur. I learnt a great deal about business finance as well, from the cohort and this helped me have a far greater comfort with financial numbers as well as business metrics. I changed my mindset from being a product developer (for which I hired people) to being a business leader whose main job is to ensure adequate resources for the people in the business to run their job.

S: What is the single most reason you attend women-centric programs?

A: I have only had the experience of the one program I attended, which was women-centric. The topics that we covered in the program were gender-agnostic anyway. I guess there is a big thrust on empowering women entrepreneurs and so these programs are more accessible - especially to founders of non-Tech businesses. However, I think I would prefer mixed gender programs as they come across as outcome-based.

S : What are the common promises that accelerators/ incubators make to entrepreneurs that you feel are usually not fulfilled

A: That the program will help one grow and scale. Business growth is subjective and growth and scale looks different for different industries. Growth also looks different to different entrepreneurs, so I believe that if accelerators are choosing entrepreneurs from very diverse industries, the emphasis should be on learning rather than on business growth. Each entrepreneur’s business growth may come from their own application of that learning, but that is not always directly attributable to the accelerator.

S: Other than directly equipping entrepreneurs with skills, mindsets and network, what more would you like to see such organisations do?

A: Access to funding networks, introductions to Angel and VC networks to help get a foot in the door, mentoring for fund-raising (how to create a pitch deck, FAQs, areas to focus on), Coaching on Storytelling - these will all be useful skills to have, for those who will be going on to raise funds.

Aarti Laxman Rastogi is founder at Artinci Artisanal Foods and is a Diversity & Inclusion champion. You can meet here here

This interview was originally published by Supriya Panchangam on Linkedin.

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