As waves of coronavirus-related redundancies begin to hit the headlines, Rainmaking, the parent company of the Startupbootcamp accelerator programme has responded with a plan: training 1m of these newly-out-of-work people to start their own businesses.
The 20-week RISE accelerator programme is insanely ambitious, admits Chris Locke, CEO of Rainmaking (it would have to be launching more than 1700 startups a day to meet the target it has set for two years).
But on the other hand, it is tiny in comparison to the number of job losses likely to come. The International Labour Organization has warned that 430m companies globally are at risk of “serious disruption” and nearly half of the global workforce are at risk of job losses.
Locke is hoping to convince big companies making redundancies to consider enrolling staff in the RISE programme instead of offering the usual outplacement packages of help with CV writing and job search advice. Companies can spend thousands of pounds on such packages.
Locke first wrote about the concept in Future Proof three weeks ago — pointing to the success a decade ago of Nokia’s Bridge programme, which created 1000 startups.
Since then the project has started to talk to companies and national governments about partnerships, which would help it expand the reach of the programme. It will also partner with Spinning Reserve, an initiative to teach entrepreneurship basics to people in the energy industry. (Future Proof is very proud to have made the introduction.)
The RISE accelerator will use some of the same tactics as Startupbootcamp, which has run 80 cohorts and accelerated 877 startups. Some 74% of Startupbootcamp’s startups are either still active or had a positive exit, compared to a 10% success rate for accelerators more generally, It will remain to be seen, however, if RISE can keep up a similar track record when dealing with vastly more would-be entrepreneurs.
Some will find that startup life is not for them, admits Locke, but he hopes even those who don't start a company will learn useful skills.
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Prices will start from £50 per week for an individual, or £1000 for the whole 20-week course. Corporate pricing would be higher, but Locke says he is hoping to sell corporations licences that would allow them to enrol unlimited numbers of employees to the programme.
The first cohort is expected to start later this month.