Got rejected by a startup accelerator? If it’s any consolation, 98% of the applicants were

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I often find it frustrating when I hear or see people from startups actively chasing the help and financial support of an accelerator. For those that don’t know, startup accelerators offer funding initiatives, mentor programs and other resources for startup businesses.

It’s not to say that these are not useful, far from it. As I’m sure there are businesses out there who have benefited from some of these incentives. But in the early stages of a business, when things are still an entrepreneurial idea or even once a business has emerged, there needs to be space and freedom for the founding members to start defining and establishing everything themselves.

This will help shape the direction of the business with the intentions of the founders being placed front and centre.

More often than not, individuals can be quickly deterred or demotivated when they don’t obtain the backing they hoped for from an accelerator. Spending time dwelling on what has been missed is only detrimental to the business.

And just because one person or one company isn’t keen to throw their support behind you, it certainly doesn’t mean your business is worthless or doomed for failure.

You aren’t the only one to miss out

When you look at the stats, the likelihood of getting accepted by an accelerator is very slim.

Well known accelerators like Techstars only accept 1-2% of applicants and 500 Startups take in less than 6% of applicants.

You need to weigh up if the time spent applying to get into an accelerator program is worthwhile given the low acceptance rates. I’m sure there are other uses for your energy, such as gearing it toward other aspects of your business.

Remember your purpose

The spotlight shouldn’t necessarily focus on concepts associated with market growth prospects and skyrocketing profits.

More importantly, it is about purpose. Your purpose is self-defined by you and what you are hoping to achieve through your business.

Your aim could be as simple as replacing your income from your current job, or targeting a niche sector where you know you could add value.

With a clearly set out objective, it is important to be self-actualising and driven. You have to remain loyal to your original ideas and dreams for the business.

Whether your idea is big or small, there’s no shame in trying to realise it yourself.

Input doesn’t have to be in the form of money

A huge contributor to the success of a venture can often stem from the level of self-investment, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that self investment always refers to what you put into the business financially, it is far more reaching than that.

Input in a business can also be in the form of commitment.

Having that sense of control over the destiny of your own business can be a huge motivator and be an incredibly empowering force.

Utilising your own network, or taking some time to do networking yourself is also a way to create value for your business and offer input in a non-monetary sense.

Determination will get you through

Don’t forget that hard work is essential.

You must be willing to make sacrifices early on and this means investing huge amounts of time and effort that only you will be able to put in.

It’s crucial that you keep up momentum and hold onto that passion that first got you started.

With your own perseverance and patience, you’ll probably soon forget that you were considering going for an accelerator program in the first place.


About the author

Domenic Saporito Domenic Saporito is the co-founder of Outcome.Life, empowering international students through independent advice and help, planning for life after study. He and his co-founder Gerard Holland recently spoke with Dynamic Business. See: Stemming the brain drain: meet the duo behind the new start-up hub for international talent and Why start-ups and education providers should go hand-in-hand in Australia moving forward