Find Market Fit
3 Month Startup Validation Intensive
Building a startup is risky, but you can navigate and mitigate risks by using an agile approach to product and market validation. This will ensure that you are building something that is solving a real world problem and people will buy it.
Join this 3 month group mentorship program designed to teach rapid validation, iteration, and development to early stage entrepreneurs. The program is delivered in-person from our Kelowna location with the option to join weekly sessions virtually.
Apply by August 11, 2023
Core Program Components
Venture Validation is well suited for founders looking to hone their entrepreneurial skills, better understand how they fit into the market through rapid iteration and based on customer research – rather than a hunch.
Startups require leadership. Starting with self-leadership, you will create a plan for yourself to grow and develop as a leader.
Develop and validate your hypothesis for your business model including the problem & solution, customer profile, and competitive landscape.
Use best-practices for customer research. Learn how to tell when you’ve validated your idea or when it’s time to pivot.
Product Iteration and MVP
Learn how to identify essential product features and how to use data to know what and when to build in order to validate product-market fit.
Pitching and Storytelling
Whether you’re hiring or looking for funding, sharing your story and learning to give an elevator pitch for your business is an essential entrepreneurial skill.
Apply by August 11
We accept a maximum of 8 ventures into each cohort. If you’re not sure you’re a fit, we encourage you to apply anyway. You’ll connect to our Programs team through the inquiry form and they can help you determine if the program is fit for you.
2023 Key Dates:
- Applications close August 11
- Program starts on September 18
- Last Session December 19
Venture Validation Is a Ideal For
- Early-stage founders or co-founders who are actively working on their business idea or prototype
- Able to dedicate significant time to working on the business
- Community-minded and coachable
- Have an idea for a scalable business model with high-growth potential
- Building an innovative & technology-driven venture
- Okanagan-based startups
Not sure if you are a fit? Apply anyway! We’ll assess your business and see how we can support or direct you to relevant resources.
Validating Business Ideas
Unlike a traditional course or program, this 3 month intensive is designed to keep you focused on implementation by focusing on the most relevant topics to move your business forward.
You won’t just learn the theory. You’ll put it into practice to make meaningful progress on your venture development.
Venture Validation is developed by Accelerate Okanagan and supported by Innovate BC’s Venture Acceleration Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the application process like?
The form will force you to ask yourself some critical questions about your venture and yourself as a founder. Your application will be reviewed by a member of the programs team, and top applicants will be invited to interview with a panel of members within the startup community.
Following the interviews, founders will be notified of their acceptance into the program.
You can start your application here.
I have an existing product with initial customers. Is this program right for me?
It depends. If you still beta users or early customers, or if you are hitting a plateau for and can’t seem to get initial traction with your sales, the program could be a fit for you.
The program is also a fit if you have an existing business and are now looking to validate and build a new product.
Through the 12-weeks, you will have mentorship and guidance on using customer discovery to validate new product features or changes to your business model.
You are invited to apply for the program, and if we feel that you will not benefit from the program we will provide feedback on what we think your next area of focus should be.
I am still at the idea stage and don’t have an existing product or customers. Is the program right for me?
Possibly! While we don’t accept founders with just a back of the napkin idea to this program, if you have been taking steps to gain initial traction – for example competitor research, prototyping, or talking to potential customers – we invite you to apply.
If you’re truly just at the initial idea stage, we encourage you to take our Online Market Validation Training course as a primer to the work we will be doing over the 12 weeks.
The application process will force you to ask yourself critical questions about your startup, which is a beneficial exercise for idea-stage founders.
Is the program virtual or in-person?
The sessions are remote-first, and all calls will be held virtually with an option to join in person at our Kelowna or Vernon locations. The final Town Hall pitch event will be held in person at our Kelowna office, so you will be required to join in person on that day.
We do see value in participating in-person to take advantage of opportunities to grow your network or deepen your relationships when it is possible for you.
Do I have to be based in Kelowna to join?
We welcome founders from throughout the Okanagan (which for us is Osoyoos to Salmon Arm). This is a big reason why our program is remote-first. Great ideas happen everywhere.
What is the cost of joining Venture Validation?
The cost of joining our Venture Validation Program is $325 per month, however Accelerate Okanagan Members receive a discounted rate of just $250 per month for 3 months.
We would love to have you as a member, which costs $350 per year for startups. In addition to discounted program fees, members receive a ton of other perks including access to the member library, expert office hours, and savings on tech tools.
Does Accelerate Okanagan take equity in my startup?
No. As a not-for-profit accelerator, we provide government-subsidized mentorship programs and community building initiatives to promote the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in our community.
We do not take equity in the companies that we support.
Will this help me raise capital or access investment opportunities?
If you are planning on raising capital, the training in this program will help you gain initial traction in preparation for attracting investment.
You may also be interested in our capital readiness programming, such as the OKGN Angel Summit.
I’m a bootstrapper and I’m not looking to go the VC route. Is AO right for me?
Absolutely. We want to work with high-growth potential companies, which can be either bootstrapped or venture-backed.
If you are bootstrapping, the validation work in this program will help you best utilize your limited resources by building something that customers are willing to pay for.