Startup growth isn’t always easy to achieve. Even with a great idea and a proven need for your product or service, it can still be difficult to boost sales and make a profit when you’re first starting out. Growth can and does plateau, too, leaving more established businesses wondering how to break that next barrier.

For some companies, the answer to overcoming these challenges is to seek the help of an accelerator — a highly selective, intensive program that offers the funding, mentorship, education and networking necessary to jump-start growth, typically in exchange for equity in the company. If you’re thinking about applying to an accelerator program, here’s what you need to know and some options to consider if you decide it’s the right path for you.

Accelerators usually invest money in their selected participants in exchange for a share of equity. They work to speed up the business development process during a restricted period of time, typically three to four months.

The typical applicant is in the early stages of business development and has either just launched or is getting ready to do so. Many companies have a finished product or concept, and may have even raised capital; others may only have an idea and no funding whatsoever. These startups can benefit greatly from the resources and assistance an accelerator can provide, and the program mentors work with them to get their product ready for customers and investors.

Second-stage growth [is about] management and leadership. As a second-stage growth accelerator, we work with businesses that have hit a wall, and what worked before isn’t working now. In a peer learning group, acquire the know-how and management techniques to achieve second-stage growth.”

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