If a startup accelerator can bring success to consumer-focused and brand-driven companies, could it also help for-profit educational practices?
This is a question that the Greater Cincinnati Foundation asked the Brandery
, Cincinnati’s startup accelerator with a top 10 rating from the Kellogg School of Management/Kauffman Fellows/TechCocktail rankings and a member of the Global Accelerator Network. The Brandery has graduated 14 companies in its first two classes, providing each with $20,000 in seed money, training sessions with other entrepreneurs, networking with mentors matched to each company’s needs and the opportunity to pitch ideas to angel investors, venture capitalists, marketers and the media.
edSpark may be the answer. Funded by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, this aspect of the Brandery’s accelerator program will support startups focused on educational innovation. Once accepted, a startup with an educational focus will receive special help through education-oriented mentors, in addition to the other benefits of a regular Brandery startup. Says Mike Bott, Brandery general manager, “When we look at an applicant, we need to make sure we can offer them the skills to meet their needs through mentorship.”
That is where the Strive Partnership comes in. Recruiting appropriate mentors will require close attention to the make-up of a company’s team and its vision. With opportunities for educational innovation ranging across the spectrum of life, from infancy to post-college, the Strive Partnership will be looking for a variety of content experts to assist companies with specific needs.
Strive Partnership director Greg Landsman sees great outcomes by providing good mentors and business community support for an education-focused startup.
“Not all education innovation and for-profit education companies are leveraging data effectively to ensure that what they are doing is working," he says. "Our involvement is as a screener, and if an education startup is selected, we’re highly confident that they will use data to ensure that they are supporting child and student development and growth.”
: the Brandery and what it has been doing in Cincinnati and across the world to nurture young businesses.
• Apply: for inclusion in the Brandery’s 2012 class via its website. Applications are due May 15, with early-admission decisions made May 1. The class of 10 companies will be announced on June 1.