Maria Mushtaq

Musings about the Accelerator, Fika and Stockholm

June 7, 2017 - Blog Posts

Being an entrepreneur it is imperative to make most out of every opportunity that comes my way. My selection for SE Forum Accelerator Program in December was the best news of the year 2016. I was ecstatic to find out that I was among the eight selected out of 890 applicants. I was eager to meet and learn with the other magnificent 7, expand my knowledge and network at an international level. The opportunity to visit Stockholm, the Silicon Valley of Europe, was a remarkable and impressive experience.

Every now and then I come across articles about how to be a leader or a good manager or work with a team, so on and so forth. Interestingly, SE Forum Accelerator Program provided me a first-hand opportunity to grow as a business leader and as a person. The three-week program was action packed, with me going back to presenting my business case, re-thinking my approaches, white board sessions and of course, the mid-day Fikas (coffee and dessert) to keep me going.

The team was an interesting mix from different parts of the world, each one with a unique idea to make the world a better place. The eight of us became a team the day we arrived. Each one in the group was eager to learn about the other person’s enterprise, their approach, area of expertise, social background and provide assistance when required. The time spent after work was the best treats of the program. I will always cherish our Guatemalan dinner treat, the weekend partying and the unfinished treasure hunt (at least for me).

I am impressed with the program structure and content. The lead coach for the program introduced us to an innovative approach to work on our startups. Her “Gear-Up” methodology will always help me maintain focus in achieving my set goals. For me it was like re-visiting my MBA courses and understanding their actual application/implication on the business. The cultural trip to Sigtuna was a perfect mix of social interaction, dialogues and classroom session with the coaches. Moreover, I feel fortunate to be introduced to some of the established mentors from varied industry sectors. The young and energetic program team was fun to work with. I must commend on their professionalism, eagerness to help and keeping the program interesting with innovative ideas.

After three weeks of the first part of accelerator program, I am much more focused and have clearly defined goals for the next four months. I am confident about my value proposition and target audience. The tools, methods introduced during the program have equipped me well to accomplish my goals within the set timeline.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Stockholm by foot. The weather was in accordance with my liking. After years, I saw snowflakes and could wear my warm clothes. When I travel, I like to try out local specials and different food places. Meatballs, being the Swedish must try dish, was an absolute delight! We also tasted the princess’s cake for one of our teammates birthday. And how can I forget my weekend retreat to Grinda Island; highly recommended for all nature lovers seeing as though I am yet in awe of its serenity and still beauty.

Penning down my thoughts about my experience with SE Forum has energized me and I am already looking forward to my next trip to Stockholm for the third segment of the Accelerator Program.

Till then…take care!


This blog post was written by Maria Mushtaq, a participant in the 2017 SE Outreach Accelerator. Click here to read more about Maria and Health Connect