The Emerging Technology Centers (ETC) launched the AccelerateBaltimore program in January, 2012, to advance rapid growth of start-up companies through a program of accelerated incubator services and investment funding. Modeled after successful accelerator programs from across the country, such as Y Combinator, Betaworks, and IdeaLab, AccelerateBaltimore targets companies that are creating pioneering technologies with the potential to commercialize a minimally viable product within the three-month accelerator program timetable.
Since 1999, ETC incubators have offered office space, as well as program support and services, to help grow the businesses of their client companies. AccelerateBaltimore builds on these assets, and focuses on advising and mentoring companies with high-growth potential for product development and sales. ETC offers each AccelerateBaltimore company six months of free rental space and three months of intensive work with its legal, accounting, marketing, and subject-matter experts, as well as business seminars and trainings. Each company receives a $25,000 convertible loan for product development, beta testing and marketing. The 12-week program includes a product-launch workshop, a weekly luncheon speaker series, weekly pitch practices, and mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs, culminating in a “Demo Day” pitch to technology entrepreneurs, professional service providers, media representatives, and investors.
Designed to attract the best and brightest technology entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to Baltimore City, the AccelerateBaltimore competition aims to accelerate the product launch and development of businesses with high potential for job creation, and to promote and market Baltimore as a desirable city to locate and grow a technology business. Seeded with a grant from The Abell Foundation and funded for the first three years, the AccelerateBaltimore program competition has drawn applicants from all over the country and including submissions from France and South Africa. In October 2012, The Daily Record recognized the first AccelerateBaltimore competition with an “Innovator of the Year” award.