WASHINGTON--Today, 16 diverse business accelerators from across the country gathered at Washington, D.C. accelerator, 1776, to pitch their programs as part of the inaugural Accelerator Demo Day--jointly organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) in an effort to help foster high-growth entrepreneurship nationwide.
Accelerators serve a valuable role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and provide a mentoring and networking component to help start-ups avoid pitfalls and give them the skills necessary to raise capital. Today’s event builds on SBA’s broader efforts to foster and support high-growth entrepreneurship in local communities across the country--efforts which include $5 million in the agency’s proposed FY 2014 budget to launch a Growth Accelerators initiative aimed at increasing the likelihood of success for first-time entrepreneurs. A continuation of the Start-Up America Initiative, the new initiative would provide matching grants to university and private sector accelerators to start new accelerators or scale an existing model.
Today’s event, which featured welcome remarks by SBA Administrator Karen Mills and GAN Executive Director Patrick Reilly, provided participating accelerators with the opportunity to pitch potential funders including the Rockefeller Foundation, IBM and the Blackstone Foundation. Attendees were also given the opportunity to network with funders, government officials and members of the accelerator community, and to connect with SBA resources for start-ups and accelerators.
“SBA is committed to supporting the efforts of our nation’s innovators across the country by providing the best accelerators with the funding opportunities and platforms they need to scale their models sustainably,” said Mills. “Our inaugural Accelerator Demo Day presents a critical opportunity to highlight the powerful work that accelerators are doing to foster tech entrepreneurs and enable more communities to become hot spots for innovation.”
“We are excited to be working with SBA on the Accelerator Demo Day,” said Riley. “As one of the leading organizations working with accelerators, we know firsthand the importance of partnering with the federal government to help spur innovation. Accelerator Demo Day is one of the many initiatives this Administration has been working on to help support the startup community.”
Dozens of business accelerators applied to pitch on Demo Day.
“I’m glad to see Miami’s Venture Hive selected to pitch their programs at the first annual National Accelerator Day,” said SBA South Florida District Director Francisco “Pancho” Marrero. “Through the efforts of SBA South Florida District, our resource partners and organizations Like Venture Hive, south Florida entrepreneurs have an incredible support network to start new businesses and create jobs.”
The 16 accelerators selected hail from all across the country, are diverse in their structure and sector focuses, and have helped many companies launch and become successful:
ARK Accelerator (Arkansas): Mentorship-driven program for local technology startups in the retail, transportation and logistics, and food processing sectors.
Socratic Labs (New York): A NYC-based edtech accelerator using lean-startup practices, Socratic Labs is open-sourcing their accelerator curriculum to share educational tools among interested high growth partners.
NW Social Venture Fund (Oregon): Impact investment fund that targets scalable social business opportunities.
Betaspring (Rhode Island): Accelerator and co-working space that uses an immersion model to provide high-growth, technology-driven startups with intensive mentorship and seed capital. Betaspring has launched more physical technology companies than any other accelerator.
The Idea Village (Louisiana): Nonprofit accelerator founded in 2000 to identify, fund, support, and retain start-up ventures in New Orleans.
Village Capital (Georgia): Global accelerator supporting mission-driven entrepreneurs across six continents and multiple industries.
Points of Light Civic Accelerator (Georgia): Nation’s first start-up accelerator program focusing on “civic ventures” – enterprises that inspire, equip and mobilize people to promote social change in the areas of education, the environment, economic development, and tech for good platforms.
Venture Hive (Florida): Technology accelerator based on economic development principles, recruiting new talent in the healthcare, travel/hospitality, and creative industry verticals.
Capital Factory (Texas): Seed accelerator that offers mentorship, co-working space, and educational programs to capital-efficient technology startups.
AlphaLab (Pennsylvania): Start-up accelerator that provides seed capital, mentorship, educational sessions, and office space to local technology companies, primarily in the web services, software, mobile, gaming, physical products, and consumer internet sectors. AlphaLab’s new program, AlphaLab Gear, focuses on robotics and hardware.
Mass Challenge (Massachusetts): Early-stage, four-month accelerator program that provides $1M in cash awards and more than $10M in in-kind support to start-ups across geographies and sectors.
VentureSpur (Oklahoma): Venture accelerator and seed capital fund dedicated to identifying and developing early-stage, high-growth companies in the region.
Brandery (Ohio): Seed-stage, four-month accelerator program that provides businesses with mentorship and funding to support consumer marketing and branding.
New York Digital Health Accelerator (New York): Accelerator program supporting early- and growth-stage digital health companies developing cutting-edge technology products in care coordination, patient engagement, analytics and message alerts for healthcare providers. It is operated jointly by the New York eHealth Collaborative and the Partnership Fund of New York City.
Springboard Enterprises (DC) – Springboard is an accelerator in Washington, D.C. focused on women-led companies. They have been in operation for 12 years and have helped 500 women-led companies across high-growth industries to access a powerful network of innovators, investors, industry experts and influencers to help them scale.
Tech Wildcatters (Texas) –Tech Wildcatters is a Texas-based accelerator focused on Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C) tech companies. They provide initial seed investment and mentorship for start-ups that are in the early stages of funding and development.
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