Yeeeessss! The second annual Black Forest Accelerator kicked off on January 18th/19th with much energy and enthusiasm and two modules covering strategy and marketing.

The participants

This year we have 11 teams or single founders participating, with different ideas in different stages of development. Health and higher education, hotels, tourism, culture, industry and the creative industries: a colorful potpourri of (almost) all age groups gathering regularly at the Technologie Park Offenburg (TPO) to share and sharpen their startup ideas with the other participants. 

Ever brought a Tesla from zero to one hundred? That’s how the first two weekends felt as the Black Forest Accelerator took off. Moderated by the creative jack-of-all-trades and heart of the accelerator Uwe Baumann and startUp.connect director Florian Appel, numerous lively discussions on strategy, quality and brand unfolded from the onset. To best describe the energy and atmosphere, our branding coach Thomas Schatton quoted the Nike campaign: just WOW! The rapid progress of numerous participants is already suggesting that, in cooperation with the decision-making network of the economic region Ortenau (WRO), something big is being created here. Added value guaranteed.

The instructors

Just off the starting line and the wheels are already turning in the minds of the participants. All the better. After all, thinking ahead is exactly what the Black Forest Accelerator is all about. Think further. Dr. Thomas Scheuerle, who looks at least ten years younger than he is and is regarded as the strategic head of the Black Forest Accelerator, introduced the participants to the method of Design Thinking. Michael Bertram, Head of Business Startup and Business Support of the IHK Southern Upper Rhine, brought the Business Model Canvas to life. And Thomas Schatton, CEO and creative lead of the highly decorated Stuttgart-based advertising agency Panama, explained how a company becomes a brand. 

The Challenge

Which problem would I like to solve?
What do I have to offer?
What is my target audience and how do I reach it?
What is a vision, a mission – and how boldly can I set my goals?
How and where do I position my brand?
And of course: How do I create confidence in my actions among my stakeholders?

Question after question, and a key message: Done is better than perfect! This means, don’t stop working on your idea, brand and strategy but get going, and do not just theorize about it. Go out, talk to as many people as you can; only then will you learn to ask the right questions and how to answer them. You cannot make everyone happy. But you can start by putting your idea into action on the basis of a sound strategy. The adventure has begun! 

The accelerator continues on February 15th. We will post regularly on our blog to keep you informed of the accelerator’s progress as well as the participants, coaches and mentors. One thing is clear: the region needs visionaries, needs founders. Because the future belongs to them. Together with our coaches and mentors, we want to be the springboard of this development. Support is provided by the network of the WRO, the 170 most influential companies in the region.

Pretty cool, right?

To be continued …