An incubator – as we define it in the Social Venture community – is something that helps things grow. An accelerator, in a business context, is a support network that furthers growth.
In recent years a rich culture of incubators and accelerators have been cropping up. Two notable leaders in the field are Keith Ippel of Spring, and Colin Mansell of Red Academy, both alumni of Social Venture Institute Hollyhock.
Keith Ippel is Co-founder of Spring, an incubator and accelerator working with “high growth potential entrepreneurs”. In Keith’s mind, growth and innovation needs to be “all about impact” and Spring’s focus on people with an inherent vision of changing the world has reach and impact that is truly global.
Colin Mansell CEO & Founder of Red Academy, a technology school preparing people for a meaningful career in the fast evolving tech sector, says “there have never been lower barriers to starting a business.” At the same time there’s also a social shift taking place: people now want a more direct connection between their work, and their life’s purpose, their vision for the world, and more of them are therefore willing to take the plunge and start a business that gives them that sense of purpose. “The increase in the number of incubators and accelerators is a clear expression of that.”
On the value of “convening” and “conference culture” Mansell says that we learn from other people, and because ultimately we are social beings, no matter what new technologies we develop, we want to be surrounded by a positive, nurturing group of likeminded people. That’s what enables us all to succeed. He also believes that “ideas are generated when people open themselves up to new possibilities, to fresh thinking and unexpected conversations.” He says that’s why “conferences like those at Hollyhock are a great way to connect with people who help us to discover new ideas.”
Ippel agrees that convening is critical. “It helps us to develop the raw understanding that we are not alone and that we need to proactively embrace community.” At Spring, convening means finding “the right community, at the right time, to have the right conversations.” For Ippel, Conference Culture is “a uniquely time and cost-effective way to gain tools and expand networks with multiple stakeholders.” In an era of massive data and huge workloads it also enables you to pull yourself systematically out of day-to-day routines, enabling you to enhance your capacity to be present in everything you are doing. For Keith, it’s really about “about creating a language and a process that enables everyone to come to the table.”
So would these two powerhouses recommend attending a conference at Hollyhock?
A resounding yes! Ippel says SVI was mind blowing and ruined him for all future conferences. Of his experience at Hollyhock, he says “the totality of the experience, the participants, the intimacy of conversations, the opportunities for learning, networking and building collaborations or friendships and of course, the venue, allows you to strip away your day to day and really immerse yourself.” In short: “It was incredible.”
Apply now to join us at SVI Hollyhock September 14th–18th, 2016!