"The most important thing in business is a good idea," says Margareta Křížová

At NEWTON, we don’t believe you should have to wait until you graduate to begin your business career. That’s why we’re launching a business accelerator from the beginning of the autumn semester. The accelerator will inspire and support NEWTON students to turn their business ideas from dreams to reality, and will even offer the chance to find investors.

The project will be led by experienced entrepreneur and business mentor Margareta Křížová. The following is an edited version of an interview with Margareta, in which she explains a bit more about the vision behind the programme, the support that it will offer, and how to apply. The full interview is available in Czech .

How did the idea for NEWTON’s Business Accelerator come about?

It’s really just building on the core concept of NEWTON as a business-oriented university. We already have so many great people at NEWTON, with so much relevant experience and knowledge, that it seemed like the next logical step – to provide students with more practical know-how, and the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs.

How does the NEWTON Business Accelerator compare to other accelerator programmes?

Well, first and foremost, it’s exclusively for NEWTON students! We’re lucky enough to have all of the experience of the NEWTON faculty behind us, which is a real asset.

We’ll be integrating it really seamlessly into what’s being studied in the classroom. Students will be able to apply what they’ve learned about financial management, marketing, business management, and so on. And they’ll also be able to link their business project to the graduate thesis.

And, unlike most accelerators, NEWTON’s Business Accelerator will not focus solely on tech projects. Any type of industry is welcome, except for weapons and adult entertainment. And we will also be open to students with just an initial business idea, to help them to find out whether it can fly.

And finally, we offer the chance to present the project to the NEWTON Angel Fund, and get seed funding.

Can you tell us a bit more about how the Accelerator will work?

The acceleration programme will last a total of five months. There will be a four-week incubation programme at the beginning, for those who begin with just an idea. During the first few days, we'll discuss whether the idea is realistic. Next, we’ll hold some workshops and consultations where we consider whether the idea is viable in the market, and then, presuming it is, students will create a basic business plan and action plan to move into the acceleration phase.

At this stage, students whose business plans are at a slightly more advanced stage will join the accelerator programme, and we’ll focus on things like financial management, sales and marketing, growth strategies, elevator pitch development, and presentation and negotiation skills.

Each business project team will have a lead mentor, who will be “a guide” available to discuss questions, address concerns and hurdles and provide advice throughout the entire four month period.

And what happens at the end of the five months?

The grand finale of the accelerator programme will be a Demo Day. Students will have the opportunity to present their projects to the NEWTON Angel Fund investment committee. We’ll have helped them with their presentations, and also to prepare answers to some of the questions they’re likely to get from investors.

Unfortunately not every project will receive funding from the Angel Fund, but the experience of pitching to investors will still be really valuable, and all participants will have the skills they need to take their business to market, or to approach other investors.

How much commitment will be expected of students enrolled in the accelerator programme?

Well they’re not going to be watching much Netflix! We’re really going to push everyone beyond their comfort zones, so it’s very important to think about your mental capacity and time constraints before applying.

How can students apply for the accelerator?

Students can apply on the NEWTON Business Accelerator page . There they will find an application questionnaire, where we ask for a bit more information about your business idea, and how far along you are. And then at a later stage we’ll be in touch with everyone who’s applied to let them know of any further requirements.

Who can applicants contact if they have any questions?

They can email me at margareta.krizova@newton.university. I'm happy to answer questions.

In addition, we have a team of student advisors at NEWTON University who also have more information about the accelerator. You can get in touch with them at info@newton.university.

Do you have any final advice?

To apply even if you’re not sure that you have what it takes! The most important thing is a good idea and an entrepreneurial mindset - and if you have these two, you shouldn’t underestimate yourself, because it's often the people who’re the most hesitant who end up shining.

Also, don’t be put off by the thought that entrepreneurship isn’t your cup of tea! You can try out the initial incubation phase, attend the first few workshops, and then decide if it's something you enjoy and are interested in. Basically, give it a go! You never know what you might discover about yourself!

Read Margareta Křížová's articles on how to start a business, and then apply for the accelerator today, on the NEWTON Business Accelerator page.

NEWTON University Angel Fund rozdělí mezi nadějné podnikatele několik milionů korun

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