Accelerating Success: The Role of Mentorship and Accelerator Programs in the Medical Device Industry

Innovation fuels the medical device industry, and the next big idea could be out there in the imagination of an entrepreneur or small business team. It’s an exciting time to be part of this industry, but creating a successful new device is a long and complex process. If you’re a new player in this space, you might discover you need more help than you anticipated. 

Along with a great idea, startups often still need resources, guidance, and funding to bring it to market or scale up production and sales. This is where accelerator and mentorship programs come in. Keep reading to learn what they are and why they should be on your radar.

What are accelerator and mentorship programs?

Accelerator and mentorship programs work one on one with startups and small businesses to give them a boost in developing medical devices and bringing them to market. This includes providing subject matter expertise and experience-based guidance in device development, business growth, and the regulatory process. 

They can also be a source of some practical resources startups often lack, such as access to work or office space, seed money, and exposure to others in the medtech and entrepreneurial spaces.

Both types of programs may focus on medical devices specifically or on medtech or biotech more broadly.

Mentorship programs may work with organizations in different stages of their medical device project, from ideation and development to prototyping to scaling up production, and anywhere in between. Accelerator programs, in contrast, often target projects that are well underway and looking to expand or grow rapidly. For this reason, many accelerator programs last only a few months with an intense focus on one aspect of your project, while mentorship programs may be more long term. No two programs are identical; however, and there may be overlap in how they operate.

How can my device project benefit from these programs?

Accelerator and mentorship programs have many benefits for medical device startups, including:

  • Funding. Some programs may offer seed money directly, others connect you with potential sources for funding such as grants, loans, or foundations. We’ve outlined 5 essential steps to fundraising for your medical device in this blog.
  • Mentorship. Programs consist of a network of experts who work in the medical device or medtech industry. They work closely with you and provide guidance tailored to your unique needs on technical matters, industry and regulatory challenges, business development, and more.
  • Networking opportunities. Once accepted into the program, you’ll join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and long-time industry contacts. This gives you opportunities to ask questions, share ideas, and make important business connections.
  • Collaboration without loss of control. Some programs may require a financial stake in the device in exchange for certain resources or support, while others, such as C3 Consulting’s Medical Mentorship Program, do not.
  • Additional resources. Depending on the program, you may have access to work or office space, legal or accounting help, and other types of business support.

What should I look for in a mentorship or accelerator program?

No two programs are the same, so be sure to review the resources and services offered before you apply. These programs are highly competitive, so you will likely need to apply to more than one, and tailor your application to the details and services of each.

As you research your options, spend some time thinking about your needs and how they align with what each program offers. A comprehensive program, such as C3 Medical’s Mentorship Program, will cover a range of services and situations for projects in any stage: 

  • Extensive, relevant experience with device development, FDA and other regulatory approval processes and pitfalls, entrepreneurship, and business development
  • Technical expertise including engineering, software, cloud and IoT computing, mobile app development, and electronics know-how
  • Able to help projects at various stages of the life cycle such as formulating the idea, prototyping, early production, or expanding market share
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDA) to protect your intellectual property
  • Full retention of ownership of your device, which supports your best interests and your success without giving up a financial stake in the project
  • Long- or short-term options, depending on your goals and needs  
  • Flexible communication options including meeting in person, online, email, etc.

Accelerator and mentorship programs are valuable resources for creating new medical devices to help people around the world. Whether you’re just getting started or ready to expand your project to the next levels of production, please contact us to learn more about our Medical Mentorship Program, or apply today.

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