We’re moving offices!
The Social Change Agency has grown and our team needs the space to keep up its amazing work. We want to say a huge thank you to Launch22 who have hosted us in their brilliant co-working space in Kings Cross over the past 6 months. With their experience of facilitating startups, they’ve given us the freedom and flexibility to flourish in an creative environment alongside some great organisations.
Tom Previte, their Operations Manager has written a blog post about their incredible incubator programme that we want to feature as a thank you for all their help, you can read it below:
Since the turn of the year and the launch of our new space in KX, we’ve been working on a few BIG projects here at Launch22. the most prolific of those is the Launch22 Incubator Programme.
Over the last 4 years, Launch22 has worked with over 620 startups and in that time we’ve verified something. Starting a business is insanely hard… Conventional wisdom says, 90% of entrepreneurs will fail in year one. We wanted to curb this ominous stat, and so began a journey to provide a structured, 3 month programme which would equip entrepreneurs with the skills, support and networks they need to make their idea a success.
Now, as a charity, we focus on supporting people from all walks of life. Each entrepreneur on our programme has faced or is facing some form of barrier to work. We are aimed at developing the entrepreneurs skills rather than just growth of the business, alongside unlimited access to fantastic mentors and to top it all off… 6 months free access to Launch22’s office in Kings Cross, PLUS we do this all for free, no cost to the entrepreneur and absolutely NO equity taken. sounds pretty great right?
We just finished our last programme so we thought we’d write about how it went down, highlighting certain weeks and moments that stuck out for us.
Week 1. New faces
Our aspiring entrepreneurs turn up, fresh faced and ready for a new experience. It’s nerve-racking for us organisers as we are unsure how the cohort would interact and gel. We give a brief overview of the programme and what would go down over the next 3-months, pretty un-inspirational but necessary. Then, one of our Launch22 Alumni: Andre Ferguson, Founder at Meekabears came down and really inspired them through telling his story, it was great to hear from someone who had been through this whole journey and come out the other side.
Our entrepreneurs are settling in and getting to grips with startup jargon like pivot and lean. We’re now at the point in the programme where they put their learning into actions to create something called an Minimum Viable Product(MVP). Because everyone is so early stage and funding isn’t readily available, entrepreneurs have to be creative about proving their business is viable. An MVP is a great way of proving that and Launch22 mentor: Tim Corrigan gives some excellent case studies and working scenarios for each of our startups in one of our sessions titled “How to build an MVP”. Things are starting to materialise for our entrepreneurs…
Week 8: Another pivot?
Startups are notoriously fickle things. one moment you think you’re onto something, the next, you feel like you’re at a dead end and may as well give up. This is natural! As we try to tell all our entrepreneurs, “embrace failure”, “learn from it”. This is a difficult thing to do but it puts you in a great position to alter your startups path based on real information you are receiving. This is called a pivot and with 4 weeks left to go of our programme, some of our startups are still doing this! Are we nervous? Slightly, do we think it’s the right thing to be doing? Definitely.
Week 12: Demo day
Time has flown by. Each of our entrepreneurs have come on leaps and bounds since their fledgling ideas were pitched back in week 1. They have websites, real customers, a clear vision of where they need to go next. For us, the climax of this programme is something we call Demo Day. an opportunity for our entrepreneurs to get up on stage, in front of a big audience and pitch their business. It’s nerve-racking. We want them all to smash it and have been helping them prepare over the last 3 weeks.
Each pitch goes amazingly. It’s a great feeling to see all these entrepreneurs with a real vision and tangible evidence to back up their startup. A full list of our fantastic alumni can be found here.
SPRING ALUMNI 2018
To round this off, all our startups have since continued to run and grow their businesses out of our hub in Kings Cross (KX).
So what have we learnt from running this programme?
- No matter your age or your ability, everyone has the opportunity to start a business
- Be pro-active! don’t wait around for people to get back to you, get outside the building and start doing
- Embrace failure, you may learn a thing or two from it
- Be social! Go to events, spark up conversations, you never know where they may lead
- Seek support. As stubborn as you may be, you can’t do it all on your own
It’s safe to say, throughout this process that we here at Launch22 have learnt as much, if not more from our cohort as they have for us. Much like their startups, we’ve got a long way to go with this programme and are constantly looking to iterate and improve it.
So, whether you have had an idea for a while but not sure where to start, or have started a business but need that extra support and guidance. Reach out and grab us for a coffee in our space in KX! Otherwise known as “the coolest hub in London…” Our members words not ours!