Gannon University’s Technology Business Accelerator Begins Second Session

Posted: January 27, 2015

Twelve local technology-enabled businesses and business concepts are expected this week for the second Technology Business Accelerator, which will conclude with the awarding of a $10,000 grant to a local entrepreneur.

As part of Gannon University's Integrated Business Transformation Program, participants, who each applied for and were selected for the Accelerator, will meet with professionals from Gannon's Erie Technology Incubator (ETI), College of Engineering and Business and Small Business Development Center (SBDC), along with other regional experts, for eight weeks of intensive coaching, skill building and guidance about key concepts such as marketing, sales, accounting, budgeting, raising capital, competitive planning, business strategy and key legal issues.

At the end of the program, each business will present its concept to a panel of five independent judges with the winning pitch receiving the cash award and six months of residency at the Incubator, along with further coaching and strategic mentoring.

The Accelerator was created to give participating entrepreneurs an opportunity to test a new concept, idea or line of business through the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Discovered in PA, Developed in PA (D2PA) program.

At press time, participating entrepreneurs represent the digital health/telemedicine, e-commerce, education, big data, tourism and manufacturing segments of the local economy. Some are in the idea stage while others are producing revenue. All are looking to take a concept and put it into action.

"Every one of these businesses has a strong technology orientation, and all plan to leverage technology to accelerate the growth of their business," said Jeff Parnell, ETI executive director. "Many of these companies will also work closely on developing their business plans through Gannon's SBDC, which serves hundreds of technical and non-technical businesses across Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Warren counties."

Jack Barton, owner of the Roast Assured @ Out of the Grey Coffee House Cafe in Fairview, Pennsylvania, was the winner in the initial Accelerator round that concluded in November. Barton successfully pitched his idea to develop online software that will enable customers to create unique, personalized coffee and tea blends.

"It was an incredible experience being around the entrepreneurs in the Accelerator program. It changed not only how I look at my business, but also how I do business," Barton said. "We had always been able to customize coffee to the individual that comes in and out of our building and I can now do that nationwide. If it wasn't for the Accelerator, I never would have taken that step."

The third Accelerator session will begin in March. Entrepreneurs or business owners interested in participating can apply here