New Castle County is funding a program to help early-stage entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.
First Founder’s Accelerator is an intensive 12-week business education course and it’s the brainchild of UD Business School grad Gary Johnson. It will offer one-on-one instruction from area mentors to help candidates refine their pitch, leverage funding and develop a business plan.
Johnson says while at UD he found entrepreneurship to be empowering.
“Not only did I see value in it for myself, but I also knew that there were people in the community who also had ideas or were already entrepreneurs but didn’t have the same access to a high-quality education as that,” said Johnson.
Plans for the program were just announced Thursday and Johnson says he is already hearing from interested applicants.
“We want you to be your authentic self. We want you to share with us why this is an opportunity that you should be considered for,” said Johnson. “And then from there all of our mentors will be reviewing applications and we just want to pick strong applicants within our community who have significant entrepreneurial promise.”
Johnson pitched his idea for the course to the county’s Economic Development Director Tamara Morris. Now, she says there are already plans to expand the program to add support for participants after the course is over.
“We would like to develop a part two for them and potentially a part three as we’re connecting them to other resources throughout the county,” said Morris.
The initial pilot is funded with $10,000 from the county along with matching in-kind grants from area-entrepreneurial groups.
Program applications will be accepted through January 24th. Ten will be selected and Johnson says he is looking to include members of the African-American, Hispanic, and LGBTQ communities.