Why you should apply for the Harbor Accelerator - Cohort 5

Allowing yourself to plunge into 14-straight weeks of nothing.but.startup.hustle. may be a scary thought for most. We hear all the time how self-doubt and fear creep into founders' minds telling them, “you’re not ready” or “stick to your day job" regardless of their effort and preparation. Don’t let these moments of weakness and fear of failure halt your startup's momentum. You ARE ready to take the plunge and move your big idea forward. Here's why you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by applying and participating in The Harbor Accelerator Program beginning January 25th and ending April 26th, 2016.

1) The Harbor Accelerator is completely free. This includes:

  • Free workspace during the 14 week program and up to one year after graduating. This includes Wi-Fi, parking, conference/meeting rooms, etc.)
  • Mentorship from some of the South East's biggest influencers 
  • Access to all events during the program and up to one year after graduating 
  • Weekly curriculum sessions covering subject matter pivotal to your startup's success
  • $15,000 AWS credits for each accelerator company 
  • Connection and sessions with local talent & expertise, investors, etc. 
  • A high impact pitch event at the end of the program (avg. attendees 350) 

2) A group of peer entrepreneurs to take the journey with

In the Harbor Accelerator you will be placed in a Cohort filled with individuals that are walking a similar path as you. They are there to support you, learn from you, and take this giant leap of faith by your side. These people will help you find inspiration and motivation daily. 

Cohort 4 

Cohort 4 

Cohort 3 

Cohort 3 

3) The Mentors

Each participating startup is paired with 2-3 supportive entrepreneur mentors to meet with bi-weekly to  discuss updates, strategy, and next steps. The Harbor Mentors have been there, done that, and have a box of logo’d t-shirts in the closet to prove it. Mentors are individuals that have founded at least one multi-million dollar enterprise. Many have multiple enterprises and experience building, selling, and raising capital -  and you have their full attention every other week. Selection of new mentors is invitation-only by current Harbor Mentors. Check them out here!

4) The Exposure  

To the community, to the press, to the mentors and to other respected entrepreneurs that have hundreds of people on their wait-list trying to meet with them. You'll find your company name written over and over again in Charleston publications over the span of 14-weeks. The Charleston startup scene is flourishing, and people want to know about it, and YOU! If you capitalize on the opportunities, connections, and events during and after the Harbor Accelerator, your exposure will hit an all time high. If you don't have exposure, you don't have business. Period.  

5) The Pitch Event

Talk about exposure. Each Accelerator Program culminates with a high-impact pitch event that draws between 300-400 people. This is the startups' opportunity to compete for seed money and showcase what they've been working on for the past 14-weeks in front of a diverse audience of community/business leaders, investors, advisors, etc. Those who are accepted into the Cohort 5 Accelerator Program are automatically locked in to pitch at  DIG SOUTH 's Venture & Demo Day on April 26th. If you aren't familiar, DIG SOUTH is the Southeast's premier interactive festival celebrating digital innovation, creativity & the knowledge economy that attracts thousands of people nation wide. 

Cohort 2 accelerator company, Bidr, won the DIG SOUTH Wild Pitch in May of 2015 

Cohort 2 accelerator company, Bidr, won the DIG SOUTH Wild Pitch in May of 2015 

If you have the desire or passion to take your idea to the next level, feed it daily and take more risks. Familiarize yourself with what to expect from the accelerator program, but know that being chosen to participate ultimately comes down to three determining factors: Innovation, Scalability, and your ability to execute. We are looking for those with the spirit of an entrepreneur and the determination to succeed.  Remember that what you  get out of the program, you put in. As we've all been told before (in one way or another), "Teachers can open doors, but you need to walk through yourself."

We hear so many people claim that they “just aren’t ready.” They tell themselves this over and over until their big idea gets put on the shelf for good. Don’t psych yourself out with the nitty gritty. Sometimes, it’s better to simply act. To jump in. To hit the ground running and just go for it.  At The Harbor, our goal is to empower businesses by creating a collision throughout the entrepreneur community. We understand that underlying fear, and you should know that you’re not alone! That’s why we’ve created the Business Accelerator program -- specifically for those looking to dive in.

We are currently accepting applications for the Cohort 5 Accelerator Program. The best part? You have absolutely nothing to lose. Just apply! Encourage anyone you know working on something to look into the program, you may just be the push they need. Learn more about the Harbor Accelerator and check out the success of other startups who have participated in the past here!

What are you doing today to move your big idea forward?


Jackie McKelvey 

TOWGID (The One Who Gets It Done) @ The Harbor