2023 BiG Idea Accelerator 2160x1080_v02

2023 BiG Idea Accelerator

Bring your dreams and we’ll bring the food. Join us for a series of Saturday workshops to bring your business to life.

About the BiG Idea Accelerator

The BiG Idea Accelerator, led by the Creative Coast, in partnership with BIG and ATDC, is a series of workshops (one day per month) educational & mentoring program.

The program will run the gamut from validating your idea, to utilizing lean startup principles for validating your customer, to building your financial model, to incorporation structure. Finally, we will end with telling your story to investors, employees, and customers.

The program will be taught by Jen Bonnett, Rad Harrell and Dwayne Stephens, two serial entrepreneurs with a penchant for helping other entrepreneurs succeed. We will be leveraging the assistance of a pool of very talented mentors/subject-matter experts at every stage.

The program leverages the Kauffman Foundation FastTrac program, a full online suite of tools, which will help participants develop their Business Plan, Financial Model and more.

The program consists of monthly workshop sessions on the dates below, as well as, weekly cohort calls and optional office hours.

Who Should Attend?

Entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs interested in validating their business idea and growing their business.

How Much Does it Cost?

Each workshop will cost $99.00.  You can register for all 3 for $250.00.

When and Where do We Meet?

 Workshops will occur once per month, after the discovery session, on a Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Workshops will be offered virtually and recorded for future viewing.

In between workshops, we will have Tuesday evening "cohort" virtual calls where participants can discuss homework with the program facilitators.  One-on-one mentoring will also be available by appointment.

Please scroll down for a program overview including specific meeting dates.

What Can I Expect?

To get the most out of the workshops, it is important to attend all 3 workshops, and the weekly co-hort calls. There will be homework.  But, we promise it will only be things that you need for your business: business model canvas, customer personna(s), financial model, competitive analysis, business plan, etc.

Benefits of the Program:

  • Direct mentorship and education from experienced Founders and Industry Experts
  • Hands-on, intensive Customer Discovery and market viability research to test your idea
  • Resources to help you analyze, think critically, and create your Business Model Canvas and Plan
  • Financial guidance to help you focus on the important numbers for your business to be a success
  • Serious accountability and honest feedback to help you get your idea moving in the right direction

All classes except the Discovery Session will run from 10am to 2pm on a Saturday, and feature a mix of lectures, guest speakers and work sessions.  Weekly cohort calls will be active participation time with attendees will be expected to share updates with the group on their progress and where they need assistance or guidance.

The program leverages the Kauffman Foundation FastTrac program, a full online suite of tools, which will help participants develop their Business Plan, Financial Model and more.

Classes will be taught by Jennifer Bonnett, Recovering Entrepreneur/StartupChick, Executive Director of the Creative Coast, and Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Savannah Economic Development Authority. Jen is a serial entrepreneur who has raised over $50 million in angel and venture capital funds across three startups. Previously she led the Advanced Technology Development Center, the state of Georgia's Technology Incubator, for 7+ years in Atlanta before moving to the area in 2018.

Dwayne Stephens will also be instructing and mentoring classes. Dwayne is the Program Director at the Creative Coast for Make Startups, and is a budding serial entrepreneur. At the age of 28, Dwayne started his entrepreneurial journey as the Owner & Operator of a retail business in Savannah's Historic Landmark District. He has since launched another venture as a Built Environment Consultant where he advises companies and everyday people alike, on how to navigate building projects. Additionally, he is part-owner of a small tech venture. To date, Dwayne has amassed 10 years of entrepreneurial experience and doesn't plan to stop his entrepreneurial journey anytime soon.

Radford Harrell will also be mentoring/facilitating our cohort calls. Rad is the resident Startup Catalyst for the Advanced Technology Development Center in Savannah. Rad manages the ATDC Savannah programming and works with entrepreneurs looking to build technology companies and product-based startups in the greater Savannah region. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Rad earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Auburn University and invented Navy medical devices. He relocated to Savannah from Atlanta in 2009, and has been active with the Creative Coast in Savannah ever since. Also a serial entrepreneur, his most recent venture is as CEO of the very successful TalentSoup.com.

In addition to Jen, Rad and Dwayne's instruction, the program will offer various lectures and mentorship from a pool of very talented subject-matter-experts at every stage as well. The BiG Idea Accelerator is a community effort including contributors such as Savannah SCORE's mentors, as well as the Savannah Economic Development Authority and the City of Savannah.



The Program At a Glance



Part I - "Know Your Customer Workshop" (December 9, 2023, 10am - 2pm - VIRTUAL)

In this workshop, we'll take a deep dive into understanding your target audience and crafting a compelling value proposition. We'll explore the Business Model Canvas, providing an overview of its elements and how they contribute to your success. Then, we'll focus on customer segmentation, personas, and developing a strong value proposition that sets your business apart. By the end of this section, you'll have a solid understanding of your customers and the value your business brings to them, enabling you to build meaningful connections and drive success. Don't miss this opportunity to gain crucial insights and shape your strategies.

Part II- "Know Your Business Workshop" (Date TBD)

In “Know Your Business”, we'll dive into the crucial aspects of understanding your business landscape. We'll explore market size, providing insights into the potential customer base and the overall market demand for your products or services. Additionally, we'll analyze the competition, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and unique selling points to help you position your business effectively. We'll also delve into channels and distribution, exploring the best ways to reach your target audience and deliver value. Furthermore, we'll discuss pricing strategies that align with your value proposition and ensure profitability. Lastly, we'll touch upon the legal aspects that impact your business, highlighting key considerations to ensure compliance and mitigate risks. By the end of this section, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of your business landscape, enabling you to make informed decisions and drive your venture towards success.

Part III - “Fund Your Business Workshop” (Date TBD)

In the “Fund Your Business” module, we'll equip you with the essential knowledge of financial management to ensure the success of your venture. You'll learn about basic financial principles and gain the skills to build a comprehensive financial model for your business. This model will serve as a powerful tool when approaching banks or investors, showcasing the financial viability and potential of your enterprise.

Additionally, we'll explore various mechanisms for funding your business. From traditional bank loans to alternative options like crowdfunding, grants, and angel investors, we'll discuss the pros and cons of each approach. You'll gain insights into the intricacies of securing funding and learn how to navigate the funding landscape to make informed decisions for your business.

By the end of this section, you'll be well-versed in financial management, armed with a solid financial model, and equipped with the knowledge of funding mechanisms.