Since 2005, when Y Combinator, the first accelerator in the world, was established in Cambridge, Massachusetts, much has changed in the entrepreneurial world. Already there were incubators and nurseries, hosted by American universities such as Standford. But the accelerator model not only added the investment element, but also meant new methodologies, a different approach on start-up development, a mentality shift for entrepreneurs, more in favour of testing and prototyping, validating and launching; and finally, a degree of agility to make sure the window of opportunity was not missed.
Currently, there are 113 accelerators in Europe according to the 2015 Global Accelerator Report, and they have become the cornerstone of every entrepreneurship ecosystem in the world. And it is now, when the accelerator model has been validated and its crucial role as business generator has been recognised, that new vertical initiatives are emerging, centred around projects focusing on a particular sector or topic.
Verticality in accelerators implies many advantages for entrepreneurs. This kind of accelerators are normally lead by big corporations or supported by a collaborative network of best-in-class companies. This allows entrepreneurs not only to get access to a much more specialised and suitable circle of mentors, but also to enjoy the opportunity of sharing experiences and knowledge with entrepreneurs from the same sector and in similar situations (with the potential resulting synergies); and to take part in a powerful network made up by contacts, potential clients and even investors with experience and knowledge in the sector, who can provide more than just funding.
Nevertheless, this verticality not only is advantageous for entrepreneurs. Companies have been able to see the benefits of accelerators and innovation through start-ups. The corporate need of implementing strategies of open innovation has resulted from the difficulties that some of these companies find when trying to keep up with the market’s innovation demands. Through accelerators, companies not only gain access to new technologies; they also discover new ways of working within the organisation, find new talent and increase their innovation potential.
In this context, Business Factory Auto (BFA) has emerged, a vertical accelerator focusing on the car industry and backed by the car sector and the Galician administration. It is promoted by the Galician government (Xunta de Galicia), Free Zone of Vigo Consortium, PSA Group and Galician Automotive Cluster Foundation (CEAGA), which will also be the institution managing the accelerator.
In BFA’s first edition, each project happening to be selected for the Acceleration Programme will receive up to €125.000 for its development. On top of funding, selected projects will also be provided with mentorship, training and attendance to events and workshops. Once the programme is finished, the projects will have the possibility of joining the Consolidation Programme, with an additional endowment of up to €250.000.
We, in Inova Labs, have taken part in the design and development of these exciting initiative that brings entrepreneurs closer to the car sector. In Galicia, the car industry is key, and we hope that BFA keeps getting stronger and developing its international vocation.
In the following video, Alberto Casal, Managing Director of Inova Labs, explains BFA key features and motives as part of the inaugural presentation.
The registration period is open until October 26th 2016. You can download the Programme Terms of Reference at www.bfauto.es