Makerspace NextFab, which has locations in Philadelphia and Wilmington, is welcoming entrepreneurs outside its membership program to participate in its virtual accelerator for artisans.
Since its founding 2009, NextFab has offered classes, instructional events and education for its members, along with its RAPID Hardware Accelerator. In April 2020, the Wilmington location launched the Artisan Accelerator program with a virtual pilot. The eight-week experience was designed to help artisans take their side hustles to the next level, and served five makers.
“NextFab’s accelerator program helped me scale my business by 20% in a few months,” said Yemina Israel, Wilmington-based founder of Addi Naturals, in a statement. “The resources, guidance and support shaped my marketing strategies, financial projections and customer segmentation.”
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This year, the program will be available to non-member artisans who are looking for the tools and support to grow a viable business amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will run virtually for eight weeks and cost nothing for the participants.
Programming will feature startup-focused events, workshops, business consultations and mentorship on product design, supply chain methods and ecommerce skills. Makers will also meet for weekly CEO roundtables and feedback on their business from NextFab staff.
Participating makers can expect to develop biz-building skills such as strategic planning, financial management, online marketing, design thinking, tax strategies, and IP and legal protection.
Unlike previous programing, non-members in the Philly and Wilmington region are encouraged to participate in this cohort. Those selected will also gain access to all NextFab locations — check out the newest space in North Philadelphia — for the length of the accelerator. Between six and eight makers will be chosen for each cohort.
“Initially, we planned to make this program available only to existing members of NextFab, but we decided to open it up to the public, so that we can support even more artisans in these difficult times,” said Todor Raykov, NextFab’s venture services manager, in a statement.
An ideal applicant is someone currently selling custom, handmade goods and generating between $100 and $5,000 in sales per month. Applications for the accelerator open Jan. 18 and close Feb. 21. The accelerator will meet virtually for eight weeks between March 24 and May 21.