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Business Accelerators

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By Debbie Gregory.

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If you are launching or have recently launched your business startup, you are more than likely familiar with business incubators and business accelerators. Although the two seem to be used interchangeably, there are some very important differences.


While both provide developing companies access to mentorship, investors and other support that helps them become stable, self-sufficient businesses.  Many large startup incubators are run as nonprofits. They generally won’t ask for equity in a company in return for access to funding or resources in the way that accelerators do.


As a result, startups generally receive far less access to capital by joining an incubator than they could expect to receive from an accelerator. As a result, most investors prefer the accelerator model.


Additionally, incubators focus on fostering slow growth that can last years, where accelerators sponsor intensive, boot camp style programs that typically are much faster growth.


Companies that use business accelerators are typically start-ups that have moved beyond the earliest stages of becoming established, meaning they can stand on their own two feet but still need guidance and peer support to gain strength.


We have listed (alphabetically) a number of excellent accelerator programs:


  • Blue Startups – based in Honolulu, Hawaii, focus on technology companies, especially those that address markets in both Asia and the United States.
  • The Brandery – based in Cincinnati, offers support in branding, marketing and design.
  • Capriabased in Seattle, Washington, works with startups that develop innovative solutions to global problems, specifically those operating in emerging markets.
  • Cofound Harlem – based in New York City has the goal to build 100 companies in Harlem that want to make a real impact on the community by the year 2020.
  • Disney Accelerator – focuses on aiding technology innovators that want to create entertainment and new media experiences.
  • Gener8tor – based in Wisconsin, invests in high-growth startups that have a strong team.
  • Illumina Accelerator – based in San Francisco, focuses on clinical research and applied sciences, especially in the area of genomics.
  • LightSpeed Innovationsfocuses on helping startups in the aerospace industry in southern California.
  • Luma Launch – based in Santa Monica, California, focuses on evolving technology and content startups.
  • Make in LA – based in Los Angeles, focuses on hardware, from building prototypes to preparing pitches for investors.
  • Matter – based in both San Francisco and New York City, focuses on design thinking.
  • MergeLanebased in Boulder, Colorado, is focuses on women-led startups, Some of the programs can be completed virtually.
  • SaltMines Group, based in Vero Beach, Florida, focuses on mobile technology and social media products.
  • Sixers Innovation Lab – cultivates and supports the startup communities in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia.
  • StartFast – based in Syracuse, New York, is a mentorship-driven accelerator for startups working in software, mobile or Internet.
  • Startup52 – based in New York City, is an early-stage accelerator program that focuses on promoting diversity.
  • Startup Next – a pre-accelerator designed to help startups get into top accelerator programs, raise seed rounds of funding and achieve other early goals.
  • The Yield Labbased in St. Louis, Missouri, focuses on agricultural technology companies that want to create more sustainable agricultural products.
  • VentureOut – based in New York City, is a one-week hyper-accelerator that brings in startups from around the world and connects them to members of the startup and technology communities in New York City.
  • XRC Labs – based in New York City, focuses on retail and consumer goods.


Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA.

VAMBOA: SBA Learning Center: By Debbie Gregory

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SBA Learning CenterOne of the greatest advantages to running your own small business is that you are your own boss. The down-side to this is that there usually isn’t anyone else within the company that has more experience or knowledge to rely on; it’s just you. As the owner of a small business, you need to be on top of the latest business trends, technologies and laws. Luckily, to that end, entrepreneurs can utilize the SBA Learning Center.

The SBA Learning Center, powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), offers small business owners a wealth of resources. The site provides online training courses, videos, and live chat sessions with SBA representatives. Some of these resources help business owners learn about the government programs available to them, including grants, loans and exemptions.

There are also “Featured Training” courses that every entrepreneur should take. Whether you’re just getting your feet wet, trying to tread water, or sailing full-steam ahead, your business questions can be answered by utilizing the learning center’s educational resources. The site also contains tools that go beyond just education.

There is a link that connects small business owners directly to assistance in their area. By clicking on the “Find Resources” tab, under “Get Local Assistance,” entrepreneurs can be locate mentors, counselors, and training from SBA district offices, SCORE chapters, Small Biz Development Centers, and Women’s Biz Centers by zip code.

The SBA Learning Center also showcases the “Featured Tool” that shows entrepreneurs how their small business matches up against similar companies in their communities, in their state, and in the nation.

By clicking “Start Analysis” you are prompted to input your industry and location. From there, business owners can compare their business to industry competitors, find the best places in your town to target an advertising campaign, and map out competitors, customers and suppliers.

There is a multitude of resources available to small business owners through the SBA at

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: SBA Learning Center: By Debbie Gregory