Four reasons to apply for the Melbourne Accelerator Program

Brosa Co-founders Richard Li (L) and Ivan Lim (R)
Brosa Co-founders Richard Li (L) and Ivan Lim (R)

Ivan Lim is the co-founder of designer furniture company Brosa, one of the startups selected for the 2014 Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP). Brosa works with designers and makers all around the world to bring designer furniture to every home without the showroom prices. MAP is the University of Melbourne’s startup incubator, offering $20,000 seed funding along with office space, support and mentorship to students and alumni with innovative startup ideas. MAP was recently ranked 13th globally by the UBI Index – a Swedish research initiative comparing business incubators worldwide. MAP will host an Information Night for prospective applicants on Thursday 19 March.

Ivan writes for us about his experience taking part in MAP, and why you should apply:

There is no question that the Australian tech startup scene has grown immensely over the last five years and so has the interest in startup accelerators. While questions have been raised about the usefulness of startup accelerators, I wanted to share my experiences of how the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) helped my startup Brosa, as well as the four reasons you should not miss the opportunity to apply.

1. Quality of support and network

Let’s start with the most obvious reason, support. Once you’re in MAP you’re immediately connected into a network of immense talent. Yes every accelerator has mentor networks but what MAP has that other accelerators don’t have is the University of Melbourne’s alumni network.

Melbourne’s alumni network is vast, knowledgeable and just plain good. Whether you’re looking for connections in manufacturing, logistics, legal or finance, you’ll find someone in the alumni network who can help. The breadth of the network really surprised me and it has brought plenty of benefits to Brosa.

2. A brand name to open doors

It goes without saying that having The University of Melbourne behind your startup is a big credibility boost. It opens up doors that otherwise wouldn’t be opened.

If your startup operates in typically old fashioned or guarded industries like healthcare or finance, being backed by the University makes it easier to get your foot in the door. As an early stage startup it’s hard to establish credibility but with MAP you get the backing of a top University and the prestige that comes with it. Leverage it as a competitive advantage.

3. Accountability to keep you on track

One of the hardest things for any startup founder is being honest with yourself. It’s easy to make excuses why your startup isn’t moving faster or making enough progress but at the end of the day it all comes down to what you can achieve without running out of time, money or resources.

Accountability helps you move forward. In the MAP program that’s what you get – a program asking you weekly, maybe even daily, why you didn’t hit the milestones you set last week, keeping you accountable to marching forward.

Building a startup is hard and there’s little time to waste, the MAP program is going to help you stay on track and get to success, or failure, faster. Either way you’re winning.

4. Competition

I like to think that most startup founders have a competitive side in them. It’s what pushes many of us to disrupt our target markets. We enjoy winning.

One of the great benefits of MAP is the healthy competition. Eight companies get into the program and throughout the course of six months you’ll see some teams really hit their stride. I can speak from personal experience that seeing another team pull off amazing results motivated me to get going on my goals.

The competition never gets hostile, but it’s definitely healthy. You’ll push yourself further out of your comfort zone to achieve results, and there’s no better way to get things done.

So what now?

It’s pretty simple: apply for the program now. Only a select group of students and alumni are eligible so if you’re lucky enough to qualify, you owe it to yourself and your startup. Good luck!

Register here for the MAP 2015 Information Night on Thursday 19 March.