Gannon’s Technology Business Accelerator Sharpens Entrepreneurs’ Skills

Posted: September 10, 2014

Fifteen local technology-enabled businesses and entrepreneurs will hone their concepts and gain valuable skills-and perhaps a $10,000 check-thanks to a collaboration between Gannon University's Dahlkemper School of Business, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Erie Technology Incubator and Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED).

As the first component of Gannon's Integrated Business Transformation (IBT) Program, the eight-week Technology Business Accelerator begins Wednesday September 10. The Accelerator will give the participating entrepreneurs an opportunity to test a new concept, idea or line of business through the support of the DCED's Discovered in PA, Developed in PA program, which was established in 2011 by Governor Tom Corbett.

Participants, who each applied for and were selected for the Accelerator, will meet weekly with instructors and other professionals to discuss and learn about key concepts, such as marketing, sales, accounting, budgeting, raising capital, competitive planning, business strategy and key legal issues. Jennifer Leinbach, an economic development consultant from PA DCED, will attend the first class as a special guest.

Throughout the program, entrepreneurs will develop a short pitch that will communicate their business' or product's key value proposition. On the final evening, October 29, participants will present their pitches to a panel of judges, with one winner being awarded a $10,000 business grant and six months of residence and mentoring at ETI.   

"Since we announced our Technology Business Accelerator back in June, the response has been exceptional, and I am pleased to report that our first eight-week session easily reached its full capacity of 15 participants. Beyond size, however, this class brings a unique blend of talents and will be exploring a variety of different markets. Our team of instructors is certainly excited about stress-testing their business models," said Jeff Parnell, executive director of the Erie Technology Incubator.

Three more rounds of Accelerator classes will be available in 2015, with dates to be announced on ETI's website, www.ErieTech.org. Interviews will be available with Parnell and Leinbach on Wednesday from 4-5 p.m. at the Erie Technology Incubator located at 130 W. Eighth St.

The IBT Technology Business Accelerator business participants for session one and their business concepts are as follows:

  1. Battle Fear Games - Board game developer utilizes 3D printing and is exploring digital technologies
  2. Gannon University Undergraduate Student - Commercialization opportunity for technology solution that redefines the basic methodology of electrical power generation
  3. LeveReach - Tool set uniquely designed for improved functionality, reach, and ergonomics
  4. LumiLabs, LLC - LED up-lighting technology
  5. M3 Consulting Group - Precision agriculture startup that is developing small, unmanned air vehicle (UAV) solutions
  6. MULTImarketing - E-commerce service concept providing unique expertise to specialty market segments
  7. Next Tier Emissions and Performance - Patented green technology to improve efficiency of locomotives/tractor trailers
  8. RailRyder - Patented one-person trolley loading/unloading system for high-end automobiles to secure the vehicle more effectively and safely
  9. RoastAssured @ Out of the Grey - Coffeehouse owner aggressively exploring opportunity to leverage expertise in coffee and tea categories by developing and deploying new technology
  10. Santi, LLC - Unique, patented hairbrush with strong appeal to professional stylists and consumers
  11. Skunkwirkz, LLC - Produces magazine loader for small caliber firearms
  12. SST Eco, LLC - Technology for improving agricultural yield through "vertical" farming
  13. Sustainable Lifestyle Group - Software to revolutionize the way that people incorporate healthy habits (including exercise) into their workday
  14. Verify Services, LLC - Provider of telecommunications invoice auditing services seeking new technology solutions to accelerate growth
  15. YOUnique Connections - Technology training concept targeting the senior market