The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has granted $80,000 to Gateway Technical College for its Launch Box Growth Accelerator Program.
Kenosha-based Gateway will use the funds to help 10 teams of entrepreneurs launch or expand their companies through two 10-week Launch Box sessions, in the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters. There will be five teams in each intensive class. The grant money can be used as seed capital for the startups or for accelerator operating costs.
Gateway has received two previous WEDC grants totaling $100,000 for Launch Box. The program has graduated 14 companies, which have raised a total of $300,000 and have created a combined $200,000 in revenue.
WEDC has supported 13 other accelerators through its Seed Accelerator Program, which was created in 2012 to fund nonprofit accelerators who support pre-seed, technology-based and growth-oriented startups.
“Receiving this seed growth accelerator grant from the WEDC is great news for all of us in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of southeastern Wisconsin,” said Thalia Mendez, business resource specialist at Gateway’s Business and Workforce Solutions Division. “Ten entrepreneurs are going to reap the benefits of a rigorous customer discovery exercise and, at the end, will receive at a minimum $2,500 seed grant to spend at their discretion. Past accelerator graduates have seen business increases of up to 30 percent, so we know the knowledge they gain by going through this process is more than beneficial.”
“The Launch Box Growth Accelerator Program has been a success in providing startups with the technical and financial assistance they need to become successful,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation at WEDC. “With the leadership from Gateway and the support of a network of mentors throughout the region, Launch Box is great example of how the state, the college and the private sector are working together to strengthen Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”