Fashion For Change

Cultivating Success: Unveiling the Impact and Lessons from the Investment Readiness Programme

In the ever-evolving landscape of startups and entrepreneurship, mentorship and strategic initiatives play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of emerging businesses. The recently concluded second phase of the Investment Readiness Programme, known as the 2nd phase of the Fashion For Change Growth Programme, has left a positive impact on participating startups businesses. Beyond that, it has offered valuable lessons that resonate across the broader entrepreneurial spectrum and is valuable for organisations that support entrepreneurship by organising similar programmes.  

The Impact on Participating Startups Businesses 

The second part of the Growth Programme emerged as a catalyst for significant growth and strategic advancements among the participating startups. Notable achievements spanned team growth, business performance, financial milestones, and investor relations, showcasing the program’s multi-faceted impact.

Team dynamics underwent a transformation as formal hiring numbers remained stable, but overall team composition grew from 2 to 4 individuals. Collaborations with freelancers and contractors became a common strategy, amplifying operational and digital capabilities. Adjustments in Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) allocations emphasized the enhancement of commercial aspects.

Business performance and financial milestones saw substantial improvements across the board. Noteworthy instances include a team experiencing an 88% growth in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and another transitioning from under €10k to nearly €100k in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). A pivotal shift towards B2B clientele marked a milestone for several startups, leading to collaborative product development efforts.

Despite elusive direct investments, startups engaged with over 50 investors during the program. The emergence of a Letter of Intent (LOI) for €150k highlighted the potential for additional funding. The collective commitment extended to securing a €30k grant from the French government’s R&D initiative. Strategic initiatives, such as pivoting to a B2B model, showcased the program’s impact on diverse aspects of business development.

Participants Feedback on Investment Readiness Programme

The participant feedback provides crucial insights into the startups’ experiences and the effectiveness of the second phase of the Growth Programme. Notable takeaways include improved pitch decks, enhanced business models, and a clearer understanding of investor expectations.

Active participation during sessions, financial forecasting tips from an investor’s perspective, and the inclusion of more investors in material innovation were suggested as possible improvements for future programs. Despite varying levels of satisfaction, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) results indicated an exceptional average satisfaction rating of 5.

Mentor Feedback

Mentors, instrumental in shaping startups’ progress, employed tools and tactics such as weekly sessions, collaborative pitch refinement, and discussions on customer segments. Challenges, including geographical diversity and internal disagreements within founding teams, were acknowledged and addressed. Suggestions for improvement included adding peer-to-peer sessions, inviting more specific and diverse investors, and implementing clearer goal tracking in mentorships.

The average satisfaction with the second phase of the Growth Programme, measured using the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSS), was 4.6.

Suggestions for Improvement in the Growth Programme

Based on the comprehensive feedback received, several recommendations for future enhancements were formulated. Structured networking sessions and audience diversification at the final event, enhancing participant engagement, considering the program’s duration and contractual arrangements, inviting specific investors for Investor Meetups, improving communication surrounding the final event, and conducting a more precise startup evaluation during the first phase of the Growth Programme were among the proposed improvements.

The Investment Readiness Programme’s second phase, as evidenced by the Growth Programme, has not only propelled startups toward growth but has also provided valuable insights for program enhancement. The collective feedback from participants, mentors, and organizers serves as a guide for navigating future editions of the Growth Programme, fostering an environment of continuous improvement and success for startups and the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. As the entrepreneurial journey unfolds, these lessons and successes contribute to the resilience and adaptability of startups, ensuring they thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

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