Cleveland Selected to Host Venture For America National Accelerator

For the first time in its five-year run, VFA selected Cleveland, Ohio as the host city for its national 4-month accelerator program.

March 15, 2019 — Venture For America (VFA), a two-year fellowship program for recent college graduates interested in entrepreneurship and working in startup companies, announced that its national 2019 accelerator program will be held in Cleveland. The Venture For America accelerator offers VFA Fellow-Founders the opportunity to participate in the 4-month residential program to accelerate the growth of their ventures. Philadelphia, Pa. and Detroit, Mi. have previously hosted the program.

A call for applications was recently released to the VFA community and applications will be accepted until May 31. The accelerator program kicks off in August with a launch event and concludes with a demo event in November.

Through a collaborative and selective RFP process, each Ohio startup ecosystem — Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus — submitted proposals illustrating the breadth and depth of resources, people, opportunities, and funding the regions had to offer to support the accelerator program, Fellow-Founders and their growing startups

“We were truly thrilled and inspired by the proposals submitted from the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati startup communities. The collaboration and generosity that went into each proposal was truly impressive, it was a great — and yet — difficult choice to make,” said VFA CEO, Amy Nelson. “We are pleased to partner with the Northeast Ohio startup community and excited to see how we help Fellow-Founders succeed in Ohio.”

StartInCLE, Managing Director and co-author of the Cleveland proposal, Ed Buchholz said, “We are so proud to have brought together the community to craft a compelling proposal that highlights the opportunities that our wonderful city presents [VFA] Fellows and startups of all shapes and sizes. Cleveland will benefit from having exceptional young Founders getting started here and Fellow Founders will help Cleveland develop deeper ties with an amazing organization.” He continues, “And all this will pay dividends in Northeast Ohio for years to come.”

The VFA Ohio Accelerator is underwritten by a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier, with supplemental funding from The Cleveland Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, and Arnoff, LLP. The proposal was a great example of collaboration across many organizations in Northeast Ohio. Efforts were led by Ed and Anna Buchholz, founders of StartInCle and Max Upton, Health Tech Corridor Project Manager. In addition to securing an additional $66,000 in funding, the RFP process yielded in-kind donations of space as well as 30+ letters of support from different organizations offering access to diverse mentors and investors. This will provide a great environment to support Fellow Founded companies through the accelerator.

“Cleveland has had a lot of momentum over the last couple years and this will just accelerate the growth that we’re seeing in our startup ecosystem, talent pool, and economic development,” said Carrie Murphy, VFA, Director of Northeast Ohio.

Venture For America has worked with more than 800 recent graduates to launch their careers and is currently placing Fellows in startups in 14 cities across the country. For more information on Venture For America, please visit: ventureforamerica.org.

Venture For America is creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

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