Last night the kickoff event for the Flanders New York Accelerator program
took place at the Headquarters of Flanders Investment and Trade in Brussels.
Mr Aktihanoglu, Ms. Daniels, Ms. Tillekaerts
We were warmly welcomed by Catalina Daniels
, co-creator and program lead, Murat Aktihanoglu, Managing Partner of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
and the Flanders Investment and Trade team, represented by Claire Tillekaerts (GM), Sven De Cleyn (iStart program manager), Lies Boghaert (internationalisation coordinator) and Benoît Reinards (FIT New York).
We were informed that New York is thé place to be for startups, as it recently became the number 1 hub for startups ... worldwide! New York is now a more important startup scene than Silicon Valley. Amen!
6 participating startups were present: LynxCare, Ontoforce, Yields.io, Twikit, Arco and Hashting.
We discussed the program goals, requirements and practicals. There is a strong focus on defining the right KPI, meeting the right sponsors, weekly mentoring sessions to follow-up on progress vs KPI, learning how to pitch, fundraising and setting up a US business. It's going to be intense, but everyone is 100% determined to make this pilot case a success so that many more startups can follow!
The business models of the 6 startups have proven track record, the content is right ... but we all need to learn how to sell in the US. Selling like in Europe will not be good enough. We need to sell like Americans! Americans are best in class in pitching their ideas and selling themselves first.
Yves Roekens from Flanders Investment and Trade explained their different tools to support Flemish companies going abroad. We were very impressed!
Next step is the 22nd of January, the official launch of the program. It's going to be a rollercoaster... but we are determined to grasp this unique opportunity and make it happen.
Like Frank Sinatra sang long time ago ... "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere". Hope we can confirm this in the upcoming months and years!