Thursday, August 02, 2012
Posted by Kate Hanna
Over the last year, we’ve had a number of opportunities to visit Memphis and witness the entrepreneurial culture bubbling up there. A few of these exciting programs are led by LaunchYourCity, which provides programming and resources for early stage entrepreneurs.
LaunchYourCity—with a little help from its friends—is administering three accelerator programs this year: Seed Hatchery, which has been around since 2011; and ZeroTo510 and C cubed, which are both brand-spanking new and also unique. The three accelerators are based on LaunchYourCity’s startup principles and provide resources to entrepreneurs located in and around Memphis, but that doesn’t mean out-of-towners can’t learn a thing or two about the region’s growing support for entrepreneurship. Below are a few highlights and links to help you learn more about how these programs stand out in the rising sea of accelerators:
Seed Hatchery is a 90-day tech startup accelerator offering founders and their businesses three very important things: money, mentors and a Marine-style bootcamp (think TechStars and Y Combinator).
In partnership with the Memphis Bioworks Foundation, ZeroTo510 is the nation’s first cohort-based medical device accelerator, with the goal of helping companies secure their 510(k) FDA filing through mentorship, education, funding and prototype development.
C cubed (Commercialization, Culture and Capacity) is a tech transfer accelerator focused on increasing commercialization opportunities from university and medical research by providing researchers with entrepreneurial tools and education. It was brought to Memphis, in part, by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and the Memphis Bioworks Foundation.
ZeroTo510 and C cubed build upon the region’s already impressive medical and research cluster. (Perhaps you are familiar with Saint Jude or maybe Medtronic? Thought those might ring a bell.)
Of course, there are accelerators cropping up all over the country, but Memphis made a concerted effort to tailor the new accelerator programs—specifically ZeroTo510 and C cubed—to existing regional strengths, unique technologies and markets, and regionally available mentors and capital. These programs provide a more proficient means of growing the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, while at the same time, maximizing available resources. That’s why startups from as far as Los Angeles and North Carolina’s Research Triangle have made the choice to move their growing businesses to Memphis. Launching a new accelerator program as part of a larger plan to support entrepreneurship and innovation is an important and productive step in many regions; although to truly leverage the value of the accelerator, it is important to adapt it to the strengths of the region and the needs of the targeted opportunities.
If your region is looking for ways to bolster its entrepreneurial culture by implementing a new program or adding other resources, ask yourself whether you have taken the time to tailor the program to unique regional strengths and opportunities. After all, if you’re trying to be the best, isn’t it better to start with something you already do well?
As engagement and communications manager for JumpStart, Kate pairs her marketing expertise with her interest in supporting JumpStart's engagement work in communities across the country. Prior to JumpStart, Kate worked at Vitamix in Cleveland where she was sales and marketing assistant in the Direct Household Division.