The Accelerator is a Real-Life Version of University
My name is Prince, and I’m the founder of BiGxGh.com, a startup currently going through Savannah Fund’s accelerator. It’s only been over a month, but I can attest to how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learned since day one.
My story begins right after high school, when my mom bought me my first computer. It was a slow Pentium 3 (667MHZ Processor PC), and the only way I used it was to collect music, for my aim was to build the biggest music library with perfectly named songs. Within a month I had thousands of songs, properly named and organized by genre on my computer. I have always been a music junkie to the extent that I start to itch whenever I hear a song on radio that I don’t have. Over time, people in my area started coming to me for songs. I realized that it was hard getting songs I didn’t already have. To ease the stress of people coming to me directly for songs, I created a blog on free tools available on the web and started sharing the songs that I had.
Within months, the website went viral in my area. I started getting calls and requests from popular artists in my region who wanted to have their songs on the website, so I would hop from studio to studio collecting fresh songs. In one of my studio visits, I met one of the biggest artists coming from my region and he commended me, saying that I made it possible for them to play a show abroad. To their surprise, people already knew their songs as compared to before, when they would play to a crowd that knew nothing about their music. That conversation truly motivated me. As I honed in on my HTML skills and computer knowledge, the more popular my website became. The site grew, as I became the only music website in Ghana. I had a great relationship with all the musicians in Ghana and visitors from all over and then I encountered a problem. Because the traffic kept growing and gaining popularity, my hosting server kicked me out and the website went off for months. I didn’t make a cent from the website, so I didn’t know what to do. That was when I met my partner. He offered to invest and together we have achieved much since then. We built our second website OMGGhana which is currently the number 4 website in Ghana.
Despite having years of experience building my websites, I didn’t know the slightest thing about being a CEO. The first thing I did on Facebook when I created my profile was add ‘CEO of BiGxGh.com’ but I didn’t know what that really meant. Before joining Savannah Fund, I actually thought I knew a lot, but I would still get overwhelmed reading about tech companies getting acquired. Again, I didn’t understand what was involved in reaching that stage of a tech company.
Joining an accelerator has been a blessing. I’m the type that learn hands-on as I prefer practical learning to theory. And that is exactly what being part of an accelerator is doing for me. I have learned the meaning of various terms that I knew little about. It has opened my mind to what entrepreneurship entails, and also the ups and downs. How to run your company, hiring the right people, marketing, UX, legal and everything else seems much clearer now and I feel ready to take over the world with my company.
I’ve read a number of posts where people say being part of an accelerator is challenging. But to me, I love the challenge, and it has proven invaluable and even necessary through the connections, advice, sessions and hands-on testing. Failure has no chance at all.
Two years ago, I enrolled in university and I paid tuition because I thought my education would help propel and accelerate my music website. But the most acceleration has happened in the last two months since I’ve been part of Savannah Fund’s accelerator. Because we were already in operation and generating revenue when we were accepted, being in the accelerator is more like expansion of what I already started and learning how to scale it beyond Ghana.
The accelerator gives you all the connections, advice and essential details needed for a company to grow. My favorite session was probably the UX lab, as it changed my perception on what UI/UX is. I originally thought it was about design but after the session, I realized the focus is all on your main users.
I must say, being in the accelerator is one of the biggest things the has happened for me. The next biggest thing could probably be making sure my company becomes as big as Coca Cola. 🙂