It’s easy to know what to expect from an accelerator programme. Especially if you are friends with other startup entrepreneurs who have gone through other such programmes. So I’ll like to briefly share what we experienced that we didn’t expect.
We didn’t expect to learn so many practical new things. Classes set up to teach entrepreneurs, often have the tendency to be boring, overdone and drawn out. But this doesn’t happen when topics are taught by experts who have first-hand experience and have executed these learnings in the same environment as you. Itanna is very particular about bringing local (and foreign) experts who can talk to us practically; detailing the kind of issues and challenges to expect in Nigeria and how to solve them.
Because of their strong network of experts from the Honeywell Group and beyond, there is literally an overflow of knowledge available to founders.
We didn’t expect to have an accelerator programme tailored to our individual startup needs. But that’s what we got. For instance, the legal sessions with Itanna’s partners, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie were tailored to our needs as a startup in the Nigerian energy space. Our individual mentors were all people who have had experience executing in similar industries or operated similar business models. As an entrepreneur working in a very specific space, there’s nothing more comforting than listening to people who understand your problems and can provide insight into how to solve them.
We didn’t expect to have access to the best Nigerian technology founders. We met and listened to both VCs and entrepreneurs who have succeeded in this space. We were privileged to hear priceless behind-the-scene stories from these remarkable people and ask them their thoughts on things we cared about.
Lastly, we didn’t expect them to be as receptive as they were. Accelerators are typically rigid programmes with little room for change; but Itanna listens to us carefully and makes changes when appropriate. We have Cohort sessions every other Monday where they literally sit with us all and ask us what they can do for us.
Being at Itanna has been a marvelous and priceless experience; and we are thankful to the whole team and all those who have been a part of this journey for Powercube.