Business Accelerator Program

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We are looking for those with a scale-able business concept, spirit of an entrepreneur, and determination to succeed.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR COHORT 2!      CLICK HERE TO APPLY  

The Harbor Accelerator is a business accelerator program designed with the entrepreneur in mind.  We have one goal… build scale-able business for the Charleston region. Each start up is provided tremendous resources and support to grow quickly, test the market quickly, and become viable.  When starting a business, there are many ways to get distracted and off course.

You’ll be executing a business, not writing a plan. Our program is designed to introduce high impact business concepts to an intense curriculum led by successful mentor entrepreneurs.  These mentors will walk side by side with the start up team throughout the 14 week program to keep them focused on the critical elements needed to grow their business.  At the end of the program, the starts ups know what is needed to take the next step and are introduced to possible capital sources to help them grow.

Each start up is provided tremendous resources and support to grow quickly, test the market quickly, and become viable.  When starting a business, there are many ways to get distracted and off course.  You’ll be executing a business, not writing a plan. Our program is designed to introduce high impact business concepts to an intense curriculum led by successful mentor entrepreneurs.  These mentors will walk side by side with the start up team throughout the 14 week program to keep them focused on the critical elements needed to grow their business.  At the end of the program, the starts ups know what is needed to take the next step and are introduced to possible capital sources to help them grow.

Those selected to participate in the 14 week program will receive the following:

- Access to weekly meetings with members of our mentor network

- Access to the Director and Lead Mentor throughout your time in the program

- Educational material and 90 minutes of structured, real world applicable weekly classes

- The opportunity to develop a team of advisors who can stay with you and your business after the program

- Invitations to the weekly mentor meetings for 12 months after completion of the program

- FREE space to work from which includes: wi-fi, parking, printer, copier, conference room, and more

- Introductions to investors and growth capital sources for your next round of funding

- Invitation to Pitch your business to investors and stakeholders at the DIG SOUTH conference in April 2014

 

If this sounds like you, the process and expectations are as follows:

The Harbor Accelerator’s selection process depends entirely on the individual or team’s commitment to success and basic business concept. We are sector agnostic and open to any great idea regardless of the industry sector. Certain industries are natural fits to the Charleston region and our unique core competencies. Those industries include  Digital, Advanced Security, Aerospace, Healthcare, and Food / Tourism.  However, be clear, regardless of the business sector… one thing will matter. Is it scale-able?  Can it grow to a national or world-wide audience?

  • Submit the online application
  • Attend a 30 minute interview with the Lead Mentor, Director, and 1 or 2 Mentors
  • Within 7 days of the interview, you will be informed if you have been selected into the program
  • If offered a spot, you have 7 days to accept, otherwise your application will be withdrawn
  • The second cohort will start July 14, 2014 and finish October 16th, 2014
  • You must work out of the provided FREE space 40 hours a week (unless out selling of course)
  • You must attend the weekly 90 minute class
  • You must attend scheduled meetings with mentors
  • You must be prepared to make 4 minute pitches to mentors, community members, peers, and more throughout the 14 week period
  • You are expected to be completely engaged in your business and the process of growing it
  • You are expected to consider the recommendations of your mentors and be open to the ideas you come up with
  • You must be willing to consider sharing equity in your business with investors and mentors who bring value and or capital to your business
  • We don’t ask for any money from the start-up team, but we ask for a $5,000 equity stake if you raise more than $100,000 in investment or have a gross revenue of $250,000 within 2 years. This supports future classes of the Harbor, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

 

The program is far less “here’s a map and good luck” but much more “jump in, let’s go down this road together”

This is what the next 14 weeks could look like for you:

  • Week 1:    Who is your customer?
  • Week 2:    Sell something to someone
  • Week 3:    Pricing
  • Week 4:    Dive into the Data – what is important for you to be tracking?
  • Week 5:    The Team – what skill sets are needed on your team?
  • Week 6:    Building a pipeline
  • Week 7:    Your competitive advantage
  • Week 8:    From the customer’s perspective
  • Week 9:    How to be contagious
  • Week 10: How you tell your story
  • Week 11:   Create your financial and operational plan
  • Week 12:   Understanding raising capital
  • Week 13:   Go sell some more
  • Week 14:   Tighten up the plan and go!