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8-Week Accelerator

NWPA's Accelerator Program is Open For Business

Test your business idea for a chance to win a $10,000 business grant!

With the support of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED), ETI is pleased to partner with Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Dahlkemper School of Business to offer Northwest Pennsylvania entrepreneurs the Integrated Business Transformation (IBT) program.

One key component of the IBT is our 8-week Technology Business Accelerator (TBA): the region’s first business accelerator program. If your company (or idea) is accepted into the class,  there is no cost!

The TBA curriculum is designed to offer entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to “stress test” their concept, idea, or business. Classes run for two hours each evening and cover marketing, sales, accounting/finance, decision-making, legal issues, raising capital, and other subjects that are essential to creating, launching, and running a business. Classes will also include weekly assignments that will supplement the in-class experience. In addition, all TBA graduates receive a customized market analysis for their unique market opportunity; this report alone is valued at $6,000 - $8,000.

What types of entrepreneurs and companies are eligible?

Geographically, our IBT program—including the Accelerator and the Microloan Program—is proud to serve entrepreneurs and businesses in the following Pennsylvania counties:

  • Clarion
  • Crawford
  • Erie
  • Forest
  • Lawrence
  • Mercer
  • Venango
  • Warren

The other key qualification relates to technology. If your business or idea utilizes—or plans to utilize—technology as a key growth lever in expanding your market, you may qualify. This technology may be intellectual property that you currently own or are developing, or it could involve a number of non-proprietary technologies as diverse as manufacturing, the internet, 3-D printing, and much more. If you’re not sure, our contact information is below, so please ask!

What if my “business” is simply an “idea?”

The good news is that existing small/startup businesses and “ideas” that are being seriously considered for a business launch fit nicely in our Accelerator program! In both cases, a key step in the validation process is to more fully understand the customers who will potentially purchase the product or service, while also analyzing significant competitors and other potential barriers to success. Our program addresses these issues not only through weekly instruction, but also by providing a detailed, customized market analysis to each entrepreneur who completes the 8-week program.

But there is more!

Throughout the 8-week period, entrepreneurs develop and refine a short “pitch” that will communicate their business’ key selling points. Then, on the final day (April 7, 2016), participants will present their pitches to a panel of business judges, and one winning pitch will receive a $10,000 grant to further develop their business!

To be considered for the Technology Business Accelerator course, entrepreneurs should first be considering or currently developing a technology-enabled business. Eligible businesses include those that rely on proprietary technology (such as intellectual property), or businesses that utilize technology solutions to grow (as an example, many startups leverage the internet as part of their core product or service offering). If you’re not sure whether you qualify, just contact us (phone: 814.459.6110; e-mail: Parnell001@Gannon.edu) and we’ll be happy to assist you.

You will then need to complete the online application below, provide additional information as requested, complete an in-person interview, and be approved by the TBA screening committee.

Our fifth Accelerator course takes place from February 17 - April 7, 2016 and will include up to 15 entrepreneurial businesses/business concepts. Please click here to view more details about our schedule and to apply.