As we reach the midpoint of our Fall Cohort accelerator, our program is full steam ahead.Our cohort members have been immersed in our trainings to enhance their businesses. Up next this week, they will partake in a media and PR training.
Jordan: My experience so far with 2GI’s Cohort accelerator has been immensely beneficial, blending challenges, key lessons, and the pursuit of success. The sessions stand out for their practical focus, offering real-world insights and direct feedback on our strategies, which has been essential for improvement.
Being part of a cohort of founders with disabilities has added a unique and valuable dimension to the experience. Despite our different backgrounds, experiences, and diversity of startups, there’s a shared understanding of the additional challenges we face, creating a supportive and relatable environment.
Additionally, the international aspect of the accelerator has been particularly valuable. As an Australian startup aiming for global reach, gaining perspectives from diverse geographic locations has broadened my understanding and equipped me with insights for international expansion.
Esosa: 2GI has been one of the warmest, most welcoming accelerators I've been a part of. There's much to be said about the corporate culture of the startup world and how alienating it can be for those who come from underrepresented backgrounds. But, I never felt that way with 2GI, at each step care and authenticity have been presented to make sure that each of us feels seen.
Jordan: Reflecting on my journey to date with the 2GI’s Fall Cohort, one aspect that stands out is the uniqueness of participating in an international accelerator as an Australian founder. Adapting to the time differences initially seemed daunting, but it turned out to be a minor adjustment in the grand scheme of things.
This challenge has come with rewards. The value that this experience has added to my startup is extensive. The growth and learning I've been able to achieve, and the support network I've gained, are immeasurable. These benefits have far outweighed the inconvenience of the time zone differences.
In hindsight, a greater personal consideration of these logistical aspects would have been beneficial. But, the journey has been a testament to the fact that the most enriching experiences often come with their unique set of challenges. This has been a reminder of the resilience and adaptability required in the entrepreneurial journey, especially when venturing into international waters.
Esosa: How much the startup world has become based on financial performance. 2GI is the first entity I've worked with that has really laid that bare. It would've saved so much time had I previously known this, and this new knowledge base will lead to more strategic decisions in the future.
Jordan: The most valuable takeaway from my time with the 2GI Fall Cohort has been the opportunity to refine critical aspects of our business strategy. Specifically, the accelerator has helped me sharpen our communication strategy and streamline our acquisition approach.
Our existing strategies were functioning adequately, but the insights gained from the cohort sessions have opened our eyes to potential improvements. These refinements are not just incremental changes; they are strategic pivots that promise to significantly bolster our growth trajectory and improve customer retention.
Implementing these changes has been an enlightening process. It’s clear that the knowledge and perspectives gained from the cohort have been instrumental in pushing our strategies from good to great. This experience underscores the value of continuous learning and adaptation in the fast-paced world of startups.
Esosa: The breathtaking honesty of each of 2GI's speakers has revealed that the greatest strength of any founder is their resilience and conviction. When the going gets tough I remember how many people who persevered for a lot longer to see their mission statements come true.
We’re a few weeks into our Fall Cohort, with support from Comcast NBCUniversal. Over the past few weeks, our Disabled Founders have been immersed in 2GI’s accelerator program, to further build up their business models for continued success.
Ian: At the helm of Kupros, we're not merely running a tech startup; we're shaking up industry norms. Our flagship invention, Cu-29, an all-metal copper filament, is pioneering the way electronic components are developed, significantly enhancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of small-batch prototyping. With a clear focus on sectors such as aerospace, defense, and medical devices, our mission is to create design and manufacturing processes that pave the way for new heights of creativity and productivity.
Stephanie: Cur8able is a Woman and Disability owned fashion styling consultancy specializing in Simplifying Shopping and Destressing Dressing for the disabled, chronically ill, and injured.
Cur8able’s Core Cur8tion service, guided by Stephanie Thomas' award-winning Disability Fashion Styling System®, offers a proven solution to help designers, creative directors, marketers, and merchandisers reimagine both the brands core products and customer groups without the added expense of adaptive design. Additionally, cur8tion addresses the costly problem of dead inventory (unsold merchandise).
Ian: The decision to join 2GI’s Fall Cohort sprang from the desire to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and industry experts. The potential for growth, rich exchange of ideas, deeper insights, and structured guidance perfectly aligned with my entrepreneurial journey. As a service-disabled veteran myself, the empathy and support from 2GI towards disabled founders have been incredibly refreshing and encouraging.
Stephanie: Scale, Scale, Scale! We want to learn how to find and attract early adopting clients, and that is what we've already started learning and it's only week three.
Ian: The networking opportunities and workshops have been fantastic. The ability to learn from professionals who've unraveled similar paths and challenges is priceless. The shared knowledge, perspectives, life lessons, and the assurance that challenges are stepping stones towards success have been pivotal moments of the journey.
Stephanie: The willingness to support the needs of us Founders.
Ian: Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is filled with challenges and victories, highs and lows. My advice to other disabled founders is to not let your disability set your limits. Embrace it as your unique strength and perspective, often leading to innovative solutions that others may not see. Make the most of the resources available, never shy away from asking for help or advice, and most importantly, believe in yourself and your vision. Remember, the entrepreneurial journey is a marathon and not a sprint - enjoy every step, every stumble, and every leap forward.
Stephanie: When you see a gap in an industry that you know you have a solution for, trust your gut and go for it, create the product, test the product, start the product and start that business. It would also be a great idea to apply for 2GI's Accelerator.
We’re thrilled to kick off our Fall 2023 Cohort accelerator program with support from Comcast NBCUniversal. Over the next ten weeks, our 11 participants, all of whom are Disabled Founders of early-stage, high-growth, tech startups, will be immersed in 2GI’s ten-week accelerator program designed to improve their pitch and business model, and to instill the mindset that disabilities can be a competitive business advantage.
For the first time, we’re giving you an insider look into the 2GI Cohort experience - from start to finish. We spoke with Kristin Gross, Founder of Navdee, a digital health platform that connects patients and family caregivers to virtual Health Advocates; and Peter Conroy, Founder and CEO of The Difference App, a Digital Health Technology startup providing an innovative weight management App, who shared their insights and experiences with us.
Kristin: After listening to Spring 2GI Cohort members pitch, I was impressed by the overall presentations and group of entrepreneurs. That didn't happen by coincidence. 2GI was a part of making that a reality and I couldn't wait to apply for the opportunity to take part in the Fall Cohort.
Peter: I was inspired to apply because I have been living with a disability for nearly two decades and I thought this program might present an interesting opportunity to both benefit from and contribute towards being part of this community.
Kristin: I don't give up - there's a drive and passion that fuels me through the challenges. That being said, I'm getting better at asking for support and guidance, tapping into other's expertise and lessons learned. It makes the challenges easier and faster to overcome.
Peter: I believe some of the same skills I have learned to use to cope with my mental illness have helped me as an Entrepreneur. For example, giving myself grace when I recognize that I am not feeling well, while at the same time being more productive when I am feeling more capable.
What are you hoping to get out of 2GI’s accelerator program?
Kristin: I want to take advantage of being with other entrepreneurs and facilitators in a program that's tailored to the unique experiences of individuals with disabilities. I'm looking forward to the cohort interaction that will allow Navdee to grow. After our first week of sessions, I'm already inspired by the feedback given by various cohort members to support one another.
Peter: Personally, I hope to expand my network and learn about how to be a more effective Founder with a disability. For the company, I hope to find further traction and growth.
The Fall 2023 Cohort was made possible through the ongoing support from and partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal, who remains committed to supporting underserved entrepreneurs. In 2022, the partnership facilitated the launch of 2Gether-International Cohort for BIPOC and Disabled Entrepreneurs, which supported 11 Founders. Graduates have since raised substantial funds, generated new jobs, and developed products that benefit other marginalized communities.