Authors: Tony Willis, TAAW Consulting; Josie Kennan; Jared Wein, Mozilla
The most common way to define a Startup Accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort based program that includes outlined objectives for the participants, industry expertise (mentorship), educational components, an exchange of funding for equity, and culminating in a "Demo Day." With the successful increase in accelerator programs, many communities, universities, and other entrepreneurial support organizations across the nation have decided to either create or replicate accelerator models in their own communities with hopes of having similar success. Despite the upsurge in visibility and glamorization of the startup lifestyle coupled with the successes of notable startups who were alumni of named accelerators, there is no study which illustrates the actual economic impact a startup accelerator has on its local region. This Co-Learning Plan will examine this popular economic development tool and its impact on Michigan communities and regions.
Tony Willis, TAAW Consulting
Tony Willis is a professional resource charter and economic gardener. Over the past five years Tony has been deeply involved with economic development; specifically, when it comes to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem for the greater Lansing region to foster increased company formation, Seed and VC investment, resources to enhance connection between entrepreneurial support organizations, and a culture where people and ideas can move rapidly to the market. Tony is currently the Director of New Economy at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and is also the President of Lansing PROTO, the regions first startup accelerator program. Tony also sits on numerous boards including Lansing Community College Foundation, Lansing Mosaic, Lansing Regional SmartZone, and Community in Schools of Michigan.
Josie is a freelance researcher and marketing strategist. Having worked in human resources, operations, and marketing at various startups in Michigan and San Francisco, Josie now works with small businesses to implement efficient, socially-aware marketing strategies that support their business, community, and local business ecosystem.
Jared Wein, Mozilla
As the Senior Front-End Software Engineer for Mozilla, Jared is tasked on daily basis to build new software and find ways for Mozilla to engage the community.