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The top 3 things all founders should know before joining an accelerator program

If you’re a startup founder, you might be thinking: “Are you kidding me? I don’t have any cycles for an accelerator. I’m already working insane hours and wearing multiple hats as it is!”  We hear…

If you’re a startup founder, you might be thinking: “Are you kidding me? I don’t have any cycles for an accelerator. I’m already working insane hours and wearing multiple hats as it is!” 

We hear you, and we want to present a different perspective! We believe that so much of startup success in accelerator programs has to do with mindset. 

At L-SPARK, we’re in the business of helping startups scale and succeed. For the past 10 years, we have helped founders build their companies, raise funding, achieve successful exits and accelerate their business skills development. We’ve had B2B and B2B2C Accelerator cohorts for female founders; enterprise software; medtech; cybersecurity and; autonomous vehicles. Several of the cohorts have been in partnership with major corporations and a prestigious University. So it’s safe to say we’ve seen and worked with plenty of startup founders over the years.

Without a doubt, our most successful founders are the ones who work the hardest, and who come into our program with a hunger to learn and apply new ideas.  The right mindset is essential to accelerate your business. We’ll share three of our biggest tips with you that will help to revolutionize your accelerator experience and will help you get the max value out of it if you’re considering joining one. After all, getting the max value is what it’s all about!

Here are the top trends that have emerged from some of our most successful startups + founders:

  • It’s not a golden ticket to immediate success 

We help you get there. We do this through workshops, 1-on-1 meeting, dedicated mentorship throughout the program, introductions to investors and potential customers, and the practical lessons we have learned along the way as C-level executives, but It’s not just about helping you raise money and accelerating your business growth.  It’s  also about accelerating your personal growth.  Many of our founders join our program saying they need to hire an experienced CEO and by the end of the program they come to realize they are the best CEO for their company right now. We help you get you where you want to go, but it’s not a golden ticket to skip the hard work required to get there, which brings us to our next point.

  • Your input determines your output 

The harder you work, the more connections you take advantage of, the more prepared you come to the Operations Meetings and 1-on-1 meetings, the more you will get out of the experience. Does our approach work?  We have helped our companies raise over $120M+ in funding, worked with 7 companies through their acquisitions exits and 3 of our former alumni CEO’s have approached us to be mentors, but in the end, the harder your work to take advantage of the program the more valuable the experience will be.

  • Mentors are a gold mine of experience, take advantage of it

Mentors can be the strong nudge you didn’t know you needed. Our approach is mentorship in context.  But what does that mean? Some programs have their companies meet with multiple groups of mentors throughout the program for short bursts of time. L-SPARK takes a different approach. We assign a mentor to work with you up to 1 day per week for the duration of the 6 month program.  This approach allows the mentor to get to know you, your market, your company, and your challenges. This approach brings context to all the working sessions. 

The CEO/Founder role can be a very lonely role at times. With our model of assigning a dedicated mentor, a trust connection builds between you and the mentor so you have a confidante to discuss any pressing issue.  We truly feel that mentorship is the most valuable element of any accelerator program and can be pivotal to your startup success. If you approach mentorship with an open mind, and check your ego at the door, this will without a doubt be the most valuable aspect of being part of an accelerator. Learn more about our thoughts on mentorship here.

In the end, the founders who have found the most success through our program have all had those three things in common. They came into the program with the right mindset, they worked harder than anyone else, and they took advantage of all our program had to offer. 

Think you have what it takes? Applications are open until August 21, don’t miss your chance to apply. 


L-SPARK is the destination for Canada’s startup and tech ecosystem to learn, share, plan, execute, measure, adjust, scale and succeed. L-SPARK startup and corporate acceleration programs give companies exclusive access to leading edge technology and help build the foundation and metrics to raise capital, grow revenues, and reach global markets and partners. To date, L-SPARK alumni network of 100+ startups has raised funding totaling over $150M.

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