Harbor Accelerator program to help entrepreneurs launch businesses

Staff Report
Published Sept. 19, 2013

Entrepreneurs with an idea for a business can apply for the Harbor Accelerator to jump-start their concepts.

Eight entrepreneurs will be chosen by early November to participate in the 14-week program, which begins in the first week of January. The application deadline is Nov. 1.

In a little more than three months, the participants will fully immerse themselves in their idea while receiving insight from local business leaders. They will be able to test the market quickly in the hopes of creating viable businesses during the intensive program.

They will have access to investors and growth capital sources, as well as an opportunity to pitch to investors and stakeholders at the Dig South conference in April, which focuses on the digital economy in the Southeast.

“The collaboration between Dig South and The Harbor will be rocket fuel for startups,” Stanfield Gray, executive producer of the Dig South Interactive Festival, said in a news release. “They are exactly the type of intensive entrepreneurship program the region needs in 2014.”

The Harbor Accelerator will provide mentors, curriculum, training and free space to help the participants craft and execute their business plan. Participants will work out of Biz Inc., a business incubator run by the town of Mount Pleasant.

Participants will meet with their mentors and attend 90 minutes of structured classes each week. After the program ends, participants can attend quarterly mentor meetings for 12 months.

“We’ve approached this process entirely from the lens of the entrepreneur starting up,” said John Osborne, the accelerator’s director and the founder of fundingcharleston.com. “The program keeps the startup focused on the most valuable activities during the startup phase.”

Patrick Bryant will serve as the accelerator’s lead mentor. The team of mentors includes Eric Bowman of Sparc, Chad Walldorf of Sticky Fingers, Bobby Collins of Pure Insurance, Steve Parker Jr. of Levelwing, Christine Osborne of Wonder Works, Geoff Schuler, formerly of Boeing, and Robert New of Charleston Port Services.

“Those accepted will benefit tremendously from the cumulative learning experiences our team has gone through,” Osborne said. “It is exciting to offer this level of support to those launching a business.”

Apply here. The program will run two times a year.

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