Design & Management of Pre-Accelerator Programs


Design & Management of Pre-Accelerator Programs



4 Days



Training delivered each Wednesday for 4 consecutive weeks. Discounts available for 2 or more employees. Please enquire for more detail on dates.

Helen Fullen

Helen Fullen is a business leader and innovation champion with over 20 years experience in global enterprises across sectors in the US, Europe, and Asia. As Pre-Acceleration leader at NDRC (National Digital Research Centre) Ireland, an early-stage investor in technology start-up ventures, Ms. Fullen held responsibility for the design, development, sourcing, delivery, and evaluation of venturing support at pre-seed investment stage. Helen has a Master’s in Business Development and Entrepreneurship from Ulster University and has lectured extensively in both academia and the private sector and regularly participates as a mentor on start-up programs.

Program overview

Governments around the world recognize the importance of entrepreneurs and start-up companies as a driver of economic growth, jobs, wealth creation and innovation.  National and regional development agencies and stakeholders have established a range of supports and programs to motivate, assist and accelerate entrepreneurs along their start-up journey including intensive start-up accelerator programs and medium-term incubation programs.   The typical accelerator programme takes a small cohort of entrepreneurs/start-up teams through a 3-6 month program culminating in an investor showcase.   During acceleration, start-ups are simultaneously trying to learn, do and deliver results as program managers. In addition, mentors work with them to educate the team and accelerate the business.   Increasingly stakeholders in high performing start-up ecosystems are introducing Pre-Accelerator Programs as a first phase support to entrepreneurs and start-up teams.   Pre-acceleration aims to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, introduce start-up tools and methodologies, validate problem/solution fit, build ecosystem engagement, and propel early-stage ventures to the next development phase.    

This training program will introduce best-in-class methodologies, practical implementation insights and provide participants with a clear roadmap, structured approach and tools to plan, establish and manage pre-accelerator programs in their own organization or region.  The program covers 12 modules (set out below).  It will be delivered virtually, one day per week over a 4-week period with 3 modules covered on each day.  On completion of the 4-day program participants will receive a certificate of completion. Participants can expect to have;

  • Developed a comprehensive view of pre-acceleration activity and its value in venture development
  • Deep insight into what a venture needs. Awareness of why start-ups fail and appreciation of the discipline and process that creates maximum impact
  • Accessed best practices, tools, techniques, resources and skills required to run successful pre-accelerator programs
  • Scoped out the design of their own pre-accelerator initiative through a guided support process
  • Expanded their network of international acceleration domain experts

 Who is this program for?

  • National and regional government agency staff responsible for entrepreneurship policy and program design
  • Program managers and administrators currently delivering accelerator and incubator programs 
  • Trainers, business advisors and mentors involved in delivery or start-up programs
  • Management and staff of higher education institutes and research centres responsible for commercialization of research and promoting entrepreneurship
  • Corporates seeking to foster a culture of intrapreneurship within their organization 
  • Donor and corporate sponsors responsible for funding entrepreneurship and start-up programs

What is covered

Module 1 - Orientation and program overview
  • Introduction to the course
  • Learning objectives
  • Connect with fellow participants
  • Program project outline
Module 2 - The case for pre-acceleration
  • Defining pre-acceleration
  • The role of pre-acceleration within the start-up journey framework
  • Identify core pillars to maximise success
  • Understand key strategic objectives
  • Explore core service methodologies, tools and outcomes
Module 3 - Pre - acceleration in action
  • Learn from others experience and case study presentations
  • Discuss pre-acceleration value with start-up ecosystem players
  • Ascertain pre-accelerator critical success factors
  • Determine key criteria for impactful pre-accelerator programs
  • International benchmarks
Module 4 - Tools and methodologies
  • RoundTable: Identify an opportunity for pre-acceleration activity
  • Understand digital technologies for service delivery
  • Key start-up terminology
  • Access valuable resource toolkit
  • Build a happy and healthy experience
Module 5 - Marketing and recruitment activity
  • Design a strong pre-accelerator brand
  • Examine the pre-accelerator sourcing cycle
  • Determine eligibility and the application process
  • Develop program personas and ways to target them
  • Effective program promotion
Module 6 - Assessment criteria and selection methodology
  • Determine pre-accelerator assessment criteria
  • Ascertain optimum cohort size and number of programs
  • Shortlisting methodology. Make offers and saying no!
  • Set expectations, motivate and build commitment
  • Understand key risks and how these are mitigated
Module 7 - A use-centric focus
  • Round Table: draft plan for sourcing and selection
  • Foster the entrepreneurial spirit
  • Value from the perspective of pre-accelerator alumni
  • Review successful peer learning models
  • Build a quality learning organization
Module 8 - Culture, organization and networks
  • Define culture and values
  • Choose the right organizational structure
  • Audit resource needs and talent sourcing
  • Develop high-value networks and networking
  • Evaluate assorted business models
Module 9 - Designing an impactful program
  • Key design considerations and content
  • Value-added activities
  • Engagement models
  • Programme showcase best practice
  • Post program progression
Module 10 - Developing and enabling the venture ecosystem
  • RoundTable: Skills and resource requirements
  • Define and map the start-up ecosystem
  • Engage with other start-up supports and initiatives
  • Accessing next-stage funding
  • Investor documentation
Module 11 - Impact and evaluation
  • Identify metrics that matter
  • Evaluate program performance
  • Design a post program report
  • Transfer entrepreneurship knowledge
  • Build – Measure – Learn - Iterate
Module 12 - Review and wrap up
  • Project presentations
  • Lessons Learned’ debrief
  • Plan post program next steps
  • Complete personal reflection
  • Receive Certificate of Completion

Enquiry Form