Community Accelerator Programs are Driving Startup Innovation

Moreover, startup innovation and entrepreneurship are considered expressions of a country’s measure of future growth potential. India is now the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem. The country has seen an extraordinary expansion in its startup number, growing from about 430 companies in 2016 to nearly 1 lakh plus in January 2024.

These startups have emerged to address the country’s unmet needs in over 50 fields, including high-tech, intelligent transport, food tourism, and women’s empowerment.

Social networking platform Facebook launched a global community accelerator program in 2020. This program was to support promising startup innovations worldwide that have used the social platform.

Facebook selected thirteen startups from India in late 2021 to participate in its prestigious community accelerator program. Two out of 13 startups were a Kochi-based food-lovers community, Eat Kochi Eat, and a Bengaluru-based women’s financial empowerment organisation, Bengaluru Women’s Power (BWP).

Driving Food Innovation Through Community Programs

Founder and Creative Head at Eat Kochi Eat, Karthik Murali, says being selected for the program has been empowering. He says, “The program has helped bring in new perspectives that would have never occurred to us.” The right kind of mentorship, which the accelerator program has helped enable, facilitates communities like Eat Kochi Eat to scale faster. “The backing of prestigious accelerator programs like this one from Facebook and others like it from T-Hub provides added impetus to foodie communities like ours,” Murali says.

He also says, “If you as a community want to reach out to a person or organisation, you can simply tap into the accelerator’s vast network. Further, funding opportunities open up when a community participates in an accelerator program.”

Women Entrepreneurs and Startup Innovation

Swati Gorantyal, the founder of the Bangalore Women Power online community, agrees. As a social seller trying to scale her business, she encountered frequent challenges due to the need for a platform clear sense of direction, and limited access to resources. When she realised there were millions of women entrepreneurs like her, she decided to launch BWP.

Over the years, the group has become home to 1.11 lakh members. Through startup innovation, the aim is to create a community of women entrepreneurs with the tools and access to a ready network and platform to build their businesses. 

Facebook’s Community Accelerator program helped Gorantyal see that any fledgling business needs four factors to grow: Mentorship, outreach activities, efficient company processes, and technology. With the support she received from the accelerator initiative, the BWG founder launched a social commerce enabler platform. It aims to simplify the sellers’ journey on social media by making it ‘fast, efficient and easy’, offering a whole stack of productivity tools and an automation platform.

Since being chosen for the community accelerator program, the BWP Business School has launched a pilot program. The program attracted more than 550 sellers and offered training on the business aspects of selling, exposing them to using productivity tools to double their reach.

As a startup innovation hub and ecosystem enabler, we at T-Hub know how accelerator programs can foster cutting-edge entrepreneurship. Individual startups and fledgling companies get the opportunity to pick up innovative best practices from incubators and social networking platforms. What’s better? They also leverage the knowledge of peers these institutions already have in their ecosystem.