The University City Science Center is now accepting applications for the second class of its Digital Health Accelerator, an effort to cultivate the region’s health IT sector. It hopes to attract more women and entrepreneurs of color. Half of its selection committee will be women and people of color, spokeswoman Jeanne Mell said.
For its part, the accelerator is a pretty sweet deal for entrepreneurs.
Free office space and up to $50,000 in cash, not to mention mentorship and introductions, in exchange for absolutely no equity.
How is the Science Center able to do this?
For one, the accelerator has several funding sources. The first class was backed in part by the state, while the second class is funded in part by the federal government. The second class is also being funded by the Science Center itself and its real estate development partner Wexford Science + Technology, said Chris Laing, the Science Center’s VP of Science & Technology.
Another reason the DHA is able to be such a good deal for entrepreneurs is because it’s part of a bigger organization — the Science Center — so it can integrate with the nonprofit’s revenue-generating arms. (That’s different from, say, DreamIt Ventures, a standalone enterprise with one focus.)
That doesn’t necessarily mean the accelerator can be sustainable, though, and Laing acknowledged this.
“Of course there are models for self-sustainability for the program, including partnerships with corporations or investment firms, or ‘value-sharing’ with beneficiaries of the program, and we will investigate a range of possibilities for longer-term continuation of the DHA,” he said through a spokeswoman.