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Things I’ve learned from participating in business accelerators

Maji joins Tech Nation’s Fintech 3.0 programme

Business accelerators have played an important role in Maji’s journey to market. Today, I’m pleased to announce that Maji is joining Tech Nation’s Fintech 3.0 programme. Over the past two years, we’ve been part of programmes with Color in Tech, Allia Future 20, Google for Startups, Natwest and London & Partners. Undoubtedly, these programmes have improved my business acumen, the so-called hard skills. However, it’s the soft skills, the less tangible and quantifiable outcomes, that I’ve really come to appreciate. Joining the Tech Nation cohort offers the perfect time to reflect on the things I’ve learned from participating in business accelerators. 

Three things I’ve learned from business accelerator programmes

Practical learning: Nothing beats getting guidance and advice directly from people who have “been there, done that”. Having a short conversation with someone who has walked in your shoes cuts through the decision-making fog like nothing else. Over time, having many, many of these conversations transforms your thinking, and your business, for the better.  

The power of collaboration: Moving into our first co-working space at Allia was a transformative experience for my co-founder Megan and me. Not only did we get to work more closely together, we also got to tap into the expertise around us. Being able to bounce problems and ideas off other founders was incredibly helpful, especially when combined with the input we were getting from our expert mentors. Importantly, collaborating with our start-up peers gave us the confidence that we were on to something big, meaningful and worthwhile.  

Take care of your mental health: Founders look after the team and the business. Too often, they forget to look after themselves. You learn from your peer group that you are not alone in experiencing a range of emotions on any given day. It’s important to not let this roller coaster ride go unchecked. You do so at your own peril. In fact, a UC Berkeley study reported that 72% of entrepreneurs report having experienced mental health problems. Likewise, Actomico’s State of European Tech Report (2019) revealed that 19% of founders felt that starting a company had contributed negatively to their well-being. I’ve made it a priority to look after my mental health because I know it makes me a better leader and co-worker. And my wife and kids appreciate it, too.  

Contributing to a thriving fintech sector

Maji is on a mission to solve the pension savings gap. We have a fantastic technology solution. But we don’t have all the answers to the challenge of bringing this new technology to market. That’s where support from our business accelerator peers and mentors comes into play. At a time when Covid-19 has turned many of the old rules of launching a tech business on their head, Tech Nation’s team of alumni, mentors and domain experts is a welcome addition to our network of business growth advocates. 

And with 30 other companies taking part, Maji is in excellent company. There will undoubtedly be many opportunities for shared learning experiences as we chart a bold path for UK fintech startups. The diversity of participating companies is clear evidence that fintech innovation is thriving in the UK. In fact, fintech contributes over 75,000 jobs and £7bn for the UK economy. As the post-Covid new world order unfolds, I’m  convinced that this innovation will be key to the UK’s economic recovery. 

Fintech 3.0 will undoubtedly add to my list of invaluable lessons learned from participating in business acceIerator programmes. I look forward to working with my fellow cohort members to accelerate the success of our respective businesses and to do our part to keep the UK fintech sector thriving. 

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