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Contxto – Sometimes it’s important for founders to slow down and take a breather, at least that’s what Decelera says. Hailing from Menorca in Spain, it is the world’s first “deceleration” program for tech-based startups with a focus on sustainability.
This past week, news broke that Decelera will host its first event for Mexican founders next October in Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo. To promote this, founder Marcos Martín Larrañaga paid a visit to Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara where he discussed the unique program with students and entrepreneurs alike. Here is what I found out.
With an audience full of current or aspiring innovators, Larrañaga began his presentation on a motivating note: “Entrepreneurs are superheroes.”
After asking attendants to close their eyes and sit in contemplative silence, he asked how difficult it was for everybody to clear their heads. For most people, it was pretty challenging, even for just one minute.
Many couldn’t help but think about their jobs or an upcoming assignment, stressed out one way or another. Larrañaga relayed these sentiments to some of the challenges entrepreneurs face every day.
In a world full of constant stimulation, sometimes entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs can lose themselves in the technology. After all, founders and app developers want to capture people’s attention for as long as possible. Whether spending hours working on the computer or obsessing over the competition, sometimes technology becomes “too much of a good thing.”
So, rather than encouraging founders to relentlessly “accelerate” businesses, Decelera is promoting startups (or any working professional, really) to stomp on the brakes (for a minute) and look at the bigger picture. Instead of increasing numbers or obsessing over company growth, the premise behind Decelera is to assist participants in strengthening models and identifying new opportunities.
With this, Decelera intends to create a new Western Hemisphere hub for Latin American entrepreneurs to connect with investors and industry experts. Mexico may very well be the center of all the action if all goes according to plan.
Supported by Mexican partners such as Tecnológico de Monterrey, the event will take place at Andaz Mayakoba Riviera Maya Resort in Playa del Carmen from October 18 to 28. In the process, the resort will turn into the campus of the first Decelera Mayakoba edition where 15 startups will reevaluate methodologies.
Applications close July 18.
Participants can expect plenty of reflection about their companies and business objectives, all while immersed in natural beauty. That’s part of the Decelera model.
“We have chosen the spaces of the Mayan Riviera Maya Resort and surroundings of the Riviera Maya for this first edition in the Americas because we believe it is a unique space that will help us make our deceleration methodology, thanks to its connection with nature,” said Larrañaga.
Based on the presentation, the Decelera program uses “disruptive methodology” to support participants in “rebooting” their company, profession or job. This may involve solving business problems, embracing sustainability, as well as nurturing growth and networking. Paired with plenty of outdoor, yoga and team-building activities, there are three phases of deceleration.
Collaboration and openness are the intentions of the first stage. Simply put, breathing is the first step of disconnecting. With this comes creative thinking, inspiration, and “superpowers” activation. That’s to say, it’s meant to stimulate the brain and inspire founders to learn from others.
Once participants are in the right head space, they start evaluating business models with industry leaders in stage two. Ultimately, Decelera hopes participants have a special epiphany regarding their business model or validation process.
Last but not least, the growing portion is all about self-realization and connecting new dots. This is when participants identify investment opportunities and start engaging with investors. In the end, alumni will have improved capital and scaling capabilities.
Certainly different than most startup programs, Decelera an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday grind. Newfound inner-entrepreneurial zen may be the result of it all. This shouldn’t be too challenging in Playa del Carmen considering its landscape.
There will be 25 business Latin American and U.S. business leaders (Experience Makers) to facilitate this process. Additionally, there will be 15 investors and five corporations present to assist startups in generating sustainable growth.
One of the eligibility requirements is that startups adhere to some of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. These range from gender equality to clean water and sanitation. According to Larrañaga, there is vast potential in Latin America where Decelera could be of assistance.
“There is a great innovative talent that we must continue promoting through communities like Decelera, allowing the connection and collaboration between investors and international business leaders for the growth of respective projects.”