We are now accepting applications for the October kick-off of the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP). This six-month program was designed to support committed entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to market through mentorship and training.
Using a cohort model, participating entrepreneurs will build life-long relationships with their peers as they work together through the startup process with an experienced mentor.
Scott Macfarlane is one of the experienced mentors inspiring and coaching entrepreneurs through the VAP program. Scott holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical Engineering from UBC. He is a business leader with experience in building and managing software products and teams from small startups to large enterprises spanning healthcare, semiconductor, and defense industries.
As a co-founder of a successful software startup, Scott has extensive knowledge in business process improvement and software product development from concept through to nation-wide deployment. Scott loves bridging the gaps between people, process, technology, and business and we are so lucky to work side-by-side with him here at Accelerate Okanagan.
We recently caught up with Executive-in-Residence, Scott Macfarlane to learn more about why he believes so strongly in the power of mentorship and why he is so excited about the new Venture Acceleration cohort kicking off this fall.
“I love seeing the impact mentorship can have on both the company and the entrepreneur. When I look back at some of the coaching sessions I’ve had and then look at the success these companies are having as a result, it’s so rewarding. I really like being able to see that I am influencing people in a positive way.
One of my partners had a lot more experience than I did when we got started, so informally I certainly got a lot of advice from him over the years. Probably the biggest thing I learned from him was how to deal with people in challenging situations. I appreciated having someone to bounce ideas off of when I was experiencing challenging situations. It would have been a lot more stressful if I was completely on my own.
Some of the entrepreneurs that I work are completely on their own. That is a lot to take on. I always suggest that people do lots of networking and see if they can find a partner to help them in some way because when you are first getting started there are so many things, and as it starts growing it just gets tougher.
On the importance of customer discovery…
“It is so important to get out to talk to customers. It’s far more valuable to learn from customers than make a sale. New entrepreneurs have a tendency to want to make a sale too quickly and that’s all they focus on. I am often trying to reinforce how valuable it is to listen to what your customers are telling you so you can develop a sales strategy based on that. If you start selling too soon then inevitably you’ll end up making a lot of mistakes and find yourself having to fall back to square one.”
On Venture Acceleration programming…
“The combination of mentorship and training offered with this program is very hands-on and practical. The network component is also a critical part of this process. When the entrepreneurs participate in Market Validation Training (MVT) and they get to meet other entrepreneurs and hear their stories and see how they were handling similar situations—that is just such a great opportunity for learning.
I am excited about the new cohort model that Accelerate Okanagan is introducing this year because of the networking side of things there will be so much more opportunity for connection. In the past, there have always been organized events, but it’s nice that these are exclusively for those participating in the new cohort.”
Application deadline for this fall’s Venture Acceleration Program is September 8th!
Hungry for more?
Venture Acceleration Program | Alumni (coming soon)