Pre-Flight spotlight: Update on the new EC pre-accelerator
on 26 February, 2014 at 21:16
The Pre-Flight program was, according to Robbie Goldsmith, born of necessity. He noticed a large discrepancy between the number of entrepreneurs attending their Saturday sessions and Accelerator program. The Accelerator requires a large, weekly time commitment, and doesn’t cater well to those who already have careers or repsonsibiliteis that occupy the majority of their time. Pre-Flight fills this gap, providing participants with the resources necessary to succeed while still allowing them to maintain other responsibilities.
Robbie and his team launched the first cohort earlier this year, and it’s already into halfway through the 14-week program. It’s been a great success so far, with one company having already obtained angel funding through the process. Robbie anticipates many of the teams will apply to join advanced incubation programs, like Jumpstart Foundry.
Those leading the Pre-Flight program know what they’re talking about. As Robbie pointed out, the EC is itself a startup, having existed for only four years. He explained that they’ve pivoted themselves multiple times, practicing the very techniques and tactics they teach their members. In his words, they are experienced at “making it work.”
As the Education Coordinator for the EC, John Murdock has also played an integral role in developing the Pre-Flight program. He said the idea was to create a program that, like the Accelerators, will allow participants to take their business to the next level, regardless of where they are when they start. They work to build up core fundamentals, preparing businesses to eventually enter into an advanced accelerator or a full launch. There’s a focus on middle of business modeling: creating, distributing and capturing value.
John most enjoys the look on the participants faces when they come to a conclusion or realization they might not have without the program. He spoke to the success of one entrepreneur in particular whose business was featured on a nationally broadcasted television program.
Fatima Karwandyar is part of the inaugural program. Her business is focused on improving patient experience, fueled by a successful career in healthcare. Through the program, she said, she’s been able to pivot and hone her idea.
She’s also had the chance to talk through ideas with other members of the cohort, which has been another valuable part of the experience. The tools provided by the Pre-Flight program are giving her the opportunity to grow and improve her business in a way that she might not be able to otherwise. “The idea of building a business seems incredibly daunting and I believed my lack of a business degree would hinder my ability to develop my idea into a business. However, the pre-flight program has taught me how to take to my idea and build it out. Currently, I am seeking customer feedback to my solution to create a minimally viable product.”