Accelerator program supports local entrepreneurs

Gannon University’s Erie Technology Incubator is now offering an eight-week accelerator program that is allowing 15 entrepreneurs to enhance their skills.
This eight-week program allows them to test their new business idea with a chance to win a $10,000 check to develop it.
The spots for this program quickly filled as the idea that entrepreneurs had of living out their dream started to become realistic. The target was to have 12-15 entrepreneurs enrolled in this session. This goal of 15 was easily met and some applicants had to be turned away.
Don’t be too worried. This will not be the only opportunity that will be presented. There will be three more rounds in 2015.
To begin the application process, first the application must be filled out online at www.ErieTech.org. If the business idea is technology-related, a phone interview will be conducted. Once it has been determined that you are committed and coachable, there is a face-to-face meeting with the directors of the program.
This accelerator helps develop entrepreneur skills in marketing, sales, accounting, budgeting, raising capital, competitive planning, business strategy and key legal issues. Logan Holmes, a sophomore mechanical engineering and mathematics student at Gannon, was selected as a participant for this round.
“I have been given new insight into how I need to think, what I need to consider and how the relationship between the two will allow me to grow a prosperous company,” Holmes said.
The Technology Business Accelerator program will be mentoring more than 60 entrepreneurs in a course of 18 months. This round started Sept. 10 and will continue until Oct. 29, when one winner will be selected for the $10,000 grant.
This was made possible by Gov. Tom Corbett, who granted Gannon $520,878 for the Integrated Business Transformation program. Corbett provided the money to support the “Make it in PA” initiative. This program’s goal is to help decrease the state’s unemployment rate. Gannon’s Erie Technology Incubator, Small Business Development Center and The College of Engineering and Business have partnered to launch this together.
At the end of the eight weeks, each participant will prepare a five-minute pitch for a panel of judges. These judges will be made up of business professionals from different backgrounds. Most of the participants will be hoping for more than just a chance to win the grant.
“For me, the money is just a perk of the program,” Holmes said. “I am here for the knowledge and experience the program is offering.”

KAT SHINDLEDECKER

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