A business accelerator program has been launched in Whitley County. The Whitley County Economic Development Corp. says the effort is part of a wide-ranging small business and entrepreneurship initiative. Chief Executive Officer Alan Tio says the program will focus on sectors including agribusiness, medical device development and information technology. Up to four companies will be selected for the initial group. March 11, 2014

News Release

COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. – The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced today the launch of a business accelerator program, the Whitley County Growth Venture Accelerator, which will begin with its first cohort in June 2014.

“The EDC is pleased to launch the Whitley County Growth Venture Accelerator as the next component of our Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative,” said EDC President Alan Tio, “We continue to look for opportunities to be responsive to the needs of all our clients – in this case to encourage high-growth potential companies to reach their full potential.”

Up to four high-potential companies will be selected for the initial cohort. To be eligible to participate in the program, an applicant must be a Whitley County resident or business owner, or must be willing to launch a new business venture in Whitley County, and must have potential growth of at least 20 percent within the next five years. Applicants must also work under one of four market areas: agribusiness, specialty foods, software or hardware technology and medical technology. Those selected to participate in the program will receive a $5,000 grant for initial business expenses and will participate in a 12-week mentorship program as preparation for launching a new business or expanding an existing one.

“Since first introduced in 2005 by Y Combinator, seed accelerators have gained a reputation as 'startup factories',” said Steve Franks. “Over 200 accelerators worldwide have helped over 3,600 companies start and grow. I’m excited to work with the high potential businesses we’ll help grow here in Whitley County.”

At the conclusion of the program, participants have the opportunity to present growth plans to grant, loan and investment representatives from the Whitley County EDC Revolving Loan Fund, CANI small business financing, Elevate Ventures high potential grant fund and investment funding, and other regional Angel investors.

Applications for the Whitley County Growth Venture Accelerator will be available from accelerator manager Steve Franks (sfranks@whitleyedc.com) and will be accepted through May 15th. Additional information will be provided at an open house scheduled for 3PM on Thursday, March 27th at the EDC Outpost, located 114 N Chauncey Street in Columbia City.

About Whitley County EDC

The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional, and state partners to support our industry clients' growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City, and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill, and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: www.whitleyedc.com.Source: Whitley County Economic Development Corp.

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