Towson University plans to launch an accelerator program this summer that will bring founders together to build their business and learn from mentors.
The StarTUp Accelerator is accepting applications through April 10 and is open to startups that are finalizing an MVP or just getting into the market in the local venture community, as well as those founded by TU students and faculty.
“We’re looking for scalable tech ventures,” said TU Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Patrick McQuown, who joined the university in January.
The accelerator is a cohort-based fellowship program that runs for eight weeks. Companies will get access to office space, weekly programming on aspects of building a business, mentorship, and a chance to learn from other ventures that are accelerator alums. Selected companies receive $10,000, and the accelerator will not take equity.
The plan is for accepted companies to take residency in Towson from June 1 to July 24, though those dates are subject to change based on public health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, McQuown said. The companies will also pitch at a showcase on Oct. 8 with investors, potential clients and community members.
An entrepreneur who launched Proteus, Inc., in his dorm room at George Washington University, McQuown led a similar program while serving as executive director of James Madison University’s Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship. Graduates of that accelerator for student companies included BeatGig and BarTrack.beer.
Going forward, TU’s StartTUp Accelerator is aiming to have three have cohorts a year, including one that is solely student-focused. Future cohorts of the accelerator are slated to be based at the redevelopment of the former Maryland National Guard Armory in Towson — which will feature a large, open area that’s publicly accessible for meetings and collaboration, as well as office space — when it’s complete. TU is part of a joint venture with Baltimore County government and Greenberg Gibbons for the project, and the university’s entrepreneurship team will be based there, too.