Applications have opened for an accelerator program that offers college students and recent graduates guidance, resources, and co-working space to launch a technology start-up with the help of organizations across Detroit.
“(The program) benefits entrepreneurs because they spend eight to 10 weeks of their time on (their idea),” says Paul Riser, the managing director of technology-based entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, a nonprofit business innovation hub. Other participant organizations include Bizdom, Invest Detroit, and Detroit Creative Corridor Center.
Riser says accepted students will split their time between attending workshops, receiving one-on-one coaching, and pursuing customer validation.
“You don’t have a business until you have a customer that says they’re willing to buy that product,” Riser says.
Students are given access to the co-working space at TechTown. At the end of the 10-week summer program, students will pitch their startups to industry experts, stakeholders, potential partners, and investors.
Riser says a team that competed in last year’s program designed and developed a mobile application called Evolve that connects students to internships, jobs, and mentorship opportunities. The company is now working to raise capital and launch their product.
Undergraduates, graduates students, or recent college graduates (up to two years out of college) from any Michigan university, or Michigan residents that that go to school out-of-state, in teams of at least two, are invited to apply.
Riser says students who are interested in entrepreneurship but don’t have a specific business idea are also invited to apply. Accepted students will then be matched with other participants to form a team of students that have complementary interests and talents.
Participants receive a stipend of $2,500, and up to $7,500 per team for the summer.
Riser says this year he’s working to engage corporate partners by having them anonymously post project summaries or real world problems that they need help solving.
Applications are open until May 1. An information session will be held on April 14 at TechTown Detroit.
To apply, visit TechTownDetroit.org/LaunchDetroit