If you’re reading this, chances are that you want to join a social entrepreneurship accelerator, you finished one, or you’re nearing the end of one. You want to make the most of the experience by taking away resources you can use for another time. It’s always useful to recognize where your resources and opportunities can come from. Being aware of it now could turn into the leverage you need in the future.
Resources come in many forms. What you take from the event depends on how much you paid attention to the situations, people, and ideas that we’re going on around you. Each time you look around, there is a chance to learn. Accelerators are a group effort that expose you to new methods, tips, and hacks. You’re literally in one of the best places to gather knowledge and connections. How else will you develop a network of resources?
Naturally, there could be some people who are shy. Don’t allow shyness to keep you away from something that could help enhance your work as a social entrepreneur. More than that, you surely don’t want to miss out on resources that will empower you to make a greater change in someone else’s life. It’s fine to not go full-out-extrovert. You can show up as your authentic self and still takeaway these 6 resources from any social entrepreneurship accelerator.
1. Personal Connections
People are the resources that connect you to other resources. You never know when you’ll need a friend who knows a friend. The genuine connections you make at the accelerator can add to your success, so it’s helpful to tend to those relationships.
No one’s saying that you must pretend to be BFFs with everyone. Simply know where people exist in your network of connections. Maybe they’re a call away. Maybe they’re a DM away. Know what connects you to each person, understand their strengths, and most importantly, know how you can be of service to them. These connections should be a two-way street.
During the accelerator, the event could introduce you to organizations and companies you never heard of before. Organizations are good resources for the people and services related to them. Keep a list of any companies that spark your interest. It’s best to write down the name and what idea/ interest came to mind when you noticed the company. Before you know it, you’ll have a digital library of organizations you can use or recommend for different situations that arise.
To go a step further, ask if you could have the contact information for the company or have an introduction while you’re at the accelerator. Only use this if you honestly have a timely reason to connect. A moment you might ask for help contacting an organization is if you’d like a favor or want to offer a favor. You can use the accelerator as a good conversation starter to build rapport, and continue the connection from there.
Actually, even sending a compliment to the organizations that interest you could start the connection. You can follow up when you have more to say.
3. Fun Facts/ Knowledge
Are you keeping notes of what you learned? You probably should. Knowledge is one of the things you’ll take with you the most after a social entrepreneurship accelerator. Whether it’s knowledge you get from a seminar or a random conversation, you’ll have a wider perspective of what’s going on in the world around you.
You can use the fun facts as a conversation starter. You can use the new knowledge to resonate with someone. It’s pretty endless what you can do with knowledge when you implement it. Don’t let the information slip through you. Use it to your advantage, and share what you learn with others that need it as well.
Of course you’ll make memories! Many social entrepreneurship accelerators will have a unique set of people working on a unique set of solutions. The chances of replicating the exact event are very unlikely, so it’s best to cherish it.
Who did you meet? What did you learn? Who were you at that time?
In our speedy world, we don’t always take time to appreciate the shorter phases of our lives. We try to achieve goal after goal without living in the present. We end up having nothing to remind us of the time and effort we gave to something that we actually wanted to look back on. The memories you make will be like reminders of a really fun hang out (hopefully… we’d like to think you had fun). Spending time with other people who care about making the world a more positive place deserves to be celebrated.
Take pictures. Take videos. Grab merch.
Those memories might give you strength when life gets a little rough or seemingly dull.
5. Portfolio Content
Similar, you want to add what you did at the accelerator to your portfolio. At least, aim to have something to archive that shows you being involved in the causes or industry you care about.
As your growing within your field, you’ll find that it’s helpful to have examples to provide others. You could be using your portfolio during a job application, or you could have it handy for when people want to get to know you better. There are so many times when a portfolio will be the reason someone is offered an opportunity without applying. It gives people a chance to find you.
Let’s say you go through the entire accelerator, and you don’t have an official project to showcase from your time there. One classic method of showcasing your effort is to do a recap. Write a blog post or make a post on social media about what you learned, and it will be something that adds to your current portfolio.
Feedback gives you an inside look at all the thoughts that aren’t yours (perspectives/ opinions/ insights), and gives you the best outside look of what you’re too invested in to see past. Social entrepreneurship accelerators are built on feedback, from the audience/ fellow cohorts to the mentors. It will guide you to refine your current approaches to solutions. It will enlighten you to your blindspots. In some cases, it gives a helpful reality check.
Disclaimer: It’s also great to discern which feedback you don’t need to take to heart. Ideally, everyone at the accelerator wants to see you succeed, and they share what they honestly believe will help you thrive. If anything does not resonate (after you make an effort to view the feedback without bias), simply let it go.
You Become the Resource
The best part about gaining resources is that you yourself become an excellent resource for others. You could BE the friend who knows a friend, organization, fun fact, or recommendation that someone else needs. When you have something to offer, it can be easier to make a connection. Make sure you keep these 6 resources in mind, and you’ll see exactly why social entrepreneurship accelerators are so useful beyond the event itself.