KAST - why you should join a Venture Accelerator Program

6 Reasons to Participate in an Accelerator Program to Launch or Advance your Startup

KAST - why you should join a Venture Accelerator Program

When you plan your travels, a map helps guide your route to a successful and enjoyable trip. Likewise, a Venture Accelerator Program will help guide your way along the best route to success.

You’ve got a great new idea for a product or service. You may have even initiated the process of developing a business. Chances are, in these early stages, you could use some helpful advice, direction and maybe even a little funding. That’s where an accelerator program comes in. If offers the resources and expertise of someone who’s successfully traveled the path to help you get all three.

If you need a little nudge about participating, here are six good reasons why you should consider joining an accelerator:

1. Comprehensive support

As you may already know, developing, launching, and operating a startup can be a challenging and often lonely business. That’s where an accelerator program can help. When you work within an accelerator, you receive valuable support from experienced mentors or Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIR). In addition to the direction, experience, and knowledge, they’re also there for emotional support.

2. Accelerated knowledge

Providing a ton of information based on the years of experience and skills that each mentor, or EIR, has amassed is what makes an accelerator program what it is. Access to this concentrated amount of information allows you to make your way through the various steps far more quickly and efficiently than trying to go it alone.

Accelerator programs offer you the opportunity to leverage the years of accumulated wisdom and experience available, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. As a result, you are better positioned to develop and launch your startup in a more calculated, strategic way, improving your chances of success.

3. Skills development

Focus on teaching the skills essential to launching and running a business, including sales and marketing, customer discovery, communications, finance, and sometimes even technical skills provide the foundation of an accelerator program.

Accelerators can also help you share your skills with other startup founders in the program, providing a great testing ground for disseminating your skills later on to your own team.

4. Risk management

Front of mind for any startup founder is, more often than not, the risk of failure. It can seem as though there is risk in everything you take on. This includes the market you’ve targeted, your product, and the concept you’re presenting.

The success of a startup depends on how the various functions – product development, pricing, technology, operations, customer service, marketing, finance, and HR management – have been performed. How each of these components is addressed has a direct impact on the success or failure of the enterprise.

An accelerator can identify the risks within your concept and help you work on minimizing them. Also, those within the program can provide you with the direction in proactively taking on risk and managing it effectively.

5. A bigger-picture, long-term view

As a founder, particularly if you’re jumping into startup waters for the first time, it can seem impossible to see beyond the first six months or year. However, in order to ensure your chances for success, it’s critical to work toward a much longer view and outcome. Accelerators help you see the entire forest in addition to the individual trees.

An accelerator program EIR can help you anticipate complexities or roadblocks and help you to navigate them more effectively. They can ask the questions that get you thinking bigger picture. They’ll also suggest the tools, strategies, and tactics to help get you there.

6. Motivation and morale

There is a spirit of collaboration in the accelerator program experience and it adds motivation and inspiration with each step.  Your EIR or mentor has been there, both in their own business as well as coaching other startups, and they serve as a powerful motivating force.

Doubts and challenges are part and parcel of the startup process, and when you connect with other accelerator participants, hearing about their self-doubts and challenges, it can be highly inspiring and motivational.

Interested in how an accelerator program can help launch or advance your startup? Check out the BC Venture Accelerator Program HERE!

 

KAST receives $15,000 for inclusive programs at Nelson Tech Club

KAST receives $15,000 for Programs at Nelson Tech Club

KAST receives $15,000 for inclusive programs at Nelson Tech Club

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology received $15,000 from the Discovery Foundation Technology Education Program to deliver inclusive programming for all ages at the Nelson Tech Club.

“These programs will be a perfect introduction to using technology,” says Cam Whitehead, executive director of KAST, “for anyone who wants to use tech to live better, work smarter, or just build something for fun.”

The Nelson Tech Club, located at the Nelson and District Youth Centre, is a barrier-free public hackerspace for people of all ages to learn, share and play using technology — including 3-D printing, robotics, software, design and more.

The weekly drop-in programs will start July 3rd, 2019, and run for six months on Wednesday nights.

This application supports KAST’s aim to establish an inclusive digital technology community around the Nelson Innovation Centre, which recently received $100,000 from the Rural Dividend Fund.

“We want all people to be able to benefit from new opportunities created by tech and innovation,” says Whitehead, “and that means creating a community space to learn new skills.”

The Nelson Tech Club, launched in 2012, comprises over 500 members and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

Interested in attending the program? Please contact the Nelson Tech Club.

Columbia Basin Trust Sustainable Energy Grants

Basin Community Buildings Get Fresh Energy – Sustainably!

Columbia Basin Buildings Get Energized - Sustainably

Renewable energy upgrades in 16 Columbia Basin community buildings will generate energy, increase energy efficiency and sustainability, and reduce energy costs.

These sustainability projects are being realized with over $650,000 in support from Columbia Basin Trust’s Energy Sustainability Grants.

The buildings range from community halls to aquatic centres, and activities vary from installing solar panels to adding heat pumps. Projects may also include improvements like adding insulation and replacing furnaces and lighting to help the benefits from the projects go further.

“People regularly use and appreciate these buildings, and many have told us they want to explore ways to use energy efficiently and sustainably, which is why we’ve made renewable and alternative energy one of our strategic priorities,” said Mark Brunton, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Delivery of Benefits. “Through these grants, these important community assets will now be equipped to generate and conserve energy, while moving into the future as inviting, comfortable spaces.”

The community of ʔaq̓am is one of the recipients. It will be adding solar panels to its new health and wellness facility, which is just starting construction.

“The community has been putting a focus on sustainable energy usage, and we realize that sustainable high-quality buildings are essential for a healthy community and ecosystem,” said Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre. “This building is a great opportunity to implement the technology, with results to be considered during future ʔaq̓am projects and shared with other interested communities.”

The Burton Community Association will be adding solar panels to its community hall, reducing power usage by switching to LED lights and adding a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station.

“Having solar power at the community hall will cut our electricity bill, plus be an opportunity for locals to see the benefits of solar and how it works,” said Board member Barbara Ross. “Adding the electric vehicle charging stations will encourage community uptake on electric vehicles and enable travelers with electric vehicles to come to the area and explore our community.”

This is one of the ways the Columbia Basin Trust is helping communities conserve energy and generate renewable and alternative energy. The Trust has supported an electric vehicle charging network across the Basin, and the Trust has helped improve energy efficiency and sustainability in 935 units in 47 affordable housing buildings in the Basin.

KAST Innovate BC Tech Coop Grant

Tech Co-op Grant

KAST Innovate BC Tech Coop Grant

Get up to $10,800 per year in funding to hire co-op students through the Tech Co-op Grant.

Need talent? Whether you’re a technology-based company looking to grow or a non-tech business looking to grow your innovation footprint, our program could be right for you. 

Each employer is eligible to receive a maximum of four grants each per fiscal year valued at $2,700 (a total value of $10,800), to recruit and train between one to four distinct co-op students. The employer must pay the remainder of the student’s salary during the co-op term.

Program Eligibility

  • Be a BC-based business.
  • Have less than 100 employees on the payroll.
  • Be a tech company hiring for any role.
  • Be a non-tech company, organization or non-profit hiring for a tech role (A tech role is defined as a role primarily related to developing tech or providing tech support).
  • Be hiring a student for a co-op work term. If you’ve hired a student for a co-op work term in the last 5 years, then you must hire a first-time co-op student.

Steps to apply

  1. Understand the Program Guidelines.
  2. Define the role and create a job posting.
  3. Contact an accredited co-op department in BC to have the job approved and posted.
  4. Submit your application
Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS CBT 25000 to hire intern

Career Internship Program: Get up to $25,000 to Hire an Intern

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS CBT 25000 to hire intern

Is your business growing or succession planning? Columbia Basin Trust’s Career Internship Program may be able to help meet your resourcing needs.

“This program helps create jobs and increases employment opportunities for recent college and university graduates, a workforce that is essential when it comes to meeting the Basin’s current and future business needs,” said Lisa Kilpatrick, Columbia Basin Trust Senior Manager, Economic. “At the same time, it is helping Basin businesses and organizations grow by offering competitive wages to attract a skilled workforce.”

The program was created to support businesses, as well as non-profits, Indigenous organizations and local governments in the Basin. It helps solve the puzzle of finding the capacity and resources needed to hire and train new employees or plan for succession while supporting graduates in finding employment in their chosen field.

Fernie Brewing Co. is one of the businesses currently participating in the Trust’s Career Internship Program. Fernie Brewing experienced challenges in finding the right people to meet its growth needs and balancing everything against cost constraints.

“As a smaller company, growth has to occur within an opportunity and the Career Internship Program provided that opportunity,” said Vicky Honsberger, HR Manager for Fernie Brewing. “The program allowed us to create a position that would provide value for the organization going forward and pay a competitive rate for a recent university graduate who has the potential to move into other roles and help grow the company.”

Working on the order desk at Fernie Brewing Co., Sam Higgins is learning a lot about the business and loving it.

“The Career Internship Program has provided an incredible opportunity for me. It’s allowed me to start working in the career I went to school for in a community I love and for a company I love. I feel very lucky.”

Learn more and apply at ourtrust.org/internship.

The program may fund up to 50 percent of the new employee’s wage over the first seven to 12 months, to a maximum of $25,000. The intern position must include a training plan that provides structured learning to the new employee and transitions to full-time, permanent employment at the end of the internship.

The Trust also supports workforce needs by helping businesses hire students, including apprentices, through its other wage subsidy programs, Summer Works and School Works. Basin residents can also receive the training they need to secure immediate employment through its Training Fee Support program. These are just some of the ways the Trust is helping to create a diverse and resilient Basin economy.

Applications are currently being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Learn more at ourtrust.org/economic.