New Launch: Alaska Startup Accelerator wins $50,000 Grant
Anchorage, AK – August 10, 2015 – A new program that aims to help create new, high-growth companies in Alaska is winner of a $50,000 competition from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Launch: Alaska is a winning finalist of the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The competitive process saw 80 winners selected from a pool of over 400.
“What a boost to our grassroots effort,” said Joe Morrison, Launch: Alaska President. “Right now many Alaskans are concerned about our state’s economic future. We know tomorrow’s economy won’t be the economy of the past. So we took action, forming Launch: Alaska. We aim to build a program that will help plant seeds for a future economy.”
Startup accelerators are cohort-based programs that help high-growth businesses form. The process: After competitive applications are received, a select “class” of startup companies enters the accelerator. Over 90-120 days they receive best practices, mentorship, connections and capital. After showing off their new company in a public “demo day” pitch, the young companies graduate and are positioned for initial investment and growth. There are over 150 startup accelerator programs throughout the United States, none currently operating in Alaska.
Organizers behind Launch:Alaska include a mix of public and private leaders from across the state. Besides Morrison (biz21.co), organizers include entrepreneur Katherine Jernstrom (The Boardroom), Adam Krynicki (University of Alaska, Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization), Gianna Foltz and Nolan Klouda (University of Alaska, Center for Economic Development), Ky Holland (Alaska Pacific University), Pascual Reig (e-us.co) and Shane Spencer (Brute Technologies). Launch: Alaska aims to support urban as well as rural entrepreneurs. Key individuals supporting the SBA grant application process include Cameron Poindexter, Bristol Bay Development Fund Manager, and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.
Morrison says the $50,000 prize money will go toward the nonprofit’s operational budget. He expects final sponsorships for Launch: Alaska to be completed in fall, positioning the program for an initial pilot in 2016.
About Launch: Alaska
Launch: Alaska is a grassroots initiative to create a world-class business acceleration program for Alaska. The program mixes two entities: A nonprofit business accelerator that focuses on delivering “experience-based” entrepreneurial education, and an underlying investment fund. Contact: Joe Morrison, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-268-8106.