Entrepreneurs and early-stage startups have a couple of opportunities to get a leg up on the competition this summer, as the Tampa Bay Innovation Center in St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay Wave in Tampa are now accepting applications for their latest business accelerator programs.
TBIC’s 12-week accelerator is focused on company founders and again will be held virtually, making it available to startups across the country. Leadership and readiness for revenue and investment are the overarching themes, but cohort members will also benefit from the creation of a product and go-to-market roadmap based on market research.
TBIC’s network of more than 75 mentors and advisors help participants develop strategies for testing and implementing pricing, staffing, partnerships and demand generation.
“We have an engaged community of all the speakers and all the companies that they work for,” TBIC Managing Director Ken Evans said in April, during a showcase of TBIC’s third cohort. “I can’t possibly mention all of them, but they have contributed time, talent and treasure to making sure that this program has a good, solid foundation of the skills and the experience to help our founders in any possible way, whether it’s coming in as a guest speaker, acting as a mentor or even just connecting us with people in their Rolodex who may be potential customers. It really is a community effort for all of this to happen.”
Also getting underway soon is Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising accelerator. Funded by a $500,000 grant from JPMorgan Chase, the 90-day program caters to — you guessed it — women-led startups, which are often at a disadvantage when it comes to investment dollars. According to Pitchbook, only 16 percent of U.S. venture capital funding goes to companies with at least one female founder, and just 2.5 percent of funding goes to startups with all-female founders.
“The number of women-owned technology startups in the Tampa Bay area is growing at a record pace, and we want to make sure they have access to resources and capital to succeed,” Chase Business Banking South Division Director Michele Grace stated in a news release. “We are thrilled to see the first phase of this program launch and look forward to continuing to support this partnership.”
Companies that are selected to participate in TechWomen Rising, according to the release, will be assigned a mentor and receive one-on-one feedback from notable tech founders. They will also benefit from pitch coaching, investment readiness programs and strategic introductions to investors and prospective customers. TechWomen Rising startups will also participate in Wave’s Demo Day at the conclusion of the program.
“The TechWomen Rising Accelerator is designed to provide women-led companies the resources they need to be successful, while breaking down barriers for all women tech entrepreneurs,” Tampa Bay Wave CEO stated in the release. “We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with JPMorgan Chase to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs. This is exactly the kind of regional collaboration that can make a lasting impact.”
Much like Tampa Bay Wave’s TechWomen Rising program, members of the TBIC accelerator will have the chance to take part in a demo and pitch day, where they can make their case to investors. So far, according to a news release, the 19 companies that have been part of previous TBIC accelerator cohorts have collectively raised more than $4 million in seed funding.
“A startup founder’s journey to find a sustainable product-market fit is one that is achieved through insight into the customer’s problems and by establishing trust with early adopters,” Evans stated in the release. “This program helps founders build the credibility and confidence they need to launch and grow scalable products based on that insight and real market demand.”
Applications for TBIC’s accelerator program are being accepted until July 12. Click here to review application criteria and apply.
Tampa Bay Wave, meanwhile, is accepting applications for the TechWomen Rising accelerator until July 31. It’s also hosting two informational webinars, on June 24 and July 14, for potential applicants. Click here for more information and to apply.
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