Local business accelerator First Batch
is recruiting the next group of entrepreneurs for its 20-week manufacturing-focused mentorship and acceleration program. This is First Batch’s fourth year offering the program, which will help as many as eight startups ready to scale up product production.
First Batch is unique in Cincinnati because it’s the only accelerator in the area — and the country — to focus on new companies that manufacture physical products rather than tech, app development, food, retail or creativity startups.
According to founder and program director Matt Anthony, First Batch is accepting applications from businesses with creative ideas they’ve been able to transform into a prototype or small batch production and are ready to increase production through Cincinnati’s local manufacturing resources. Application deadline for the next class is May 6.
“We’re looking for people with innovative product ideas,” Anthony says. “They also need to have a solid market reason as to why this has to be produced at scale.”
Each accepted business will receive up to $10,000 in funding, space in the Losantiville Design Collective, guidance from the First Batch team, mentorship from industry experts and two months of free legal services from UC’s College of Law
“At the end of our program, the goal is that an organizations will not only be producing product but selling it in some capacity,” First Batch board member John Spencer says.
In addition to the hands-on assistance bringing their products or prototypes into scaled production, this year’s companies will also participate in weekly classes on business management — not a completely new addition to the program but one that’s taking a new form. First Batch will expand the Co.Starters curriculum it’s used in the past to address the unique needs of companies manufacturing physical products.
“There’s always been a business class component,” Anthony says, “but we wanted to structure it specifically toward physical products.”
“Physical products are very different from other products and services,” Spencer adds, “so they require a specific set of skills and expertise.”
The expanded business program is one way First Batch is incorporating new ideas with feedback from alumni to hone its specialized acceleration program. As in previous years, 2016 will see First Batch working with companies at various stages in their development and helping them reach their goals.
These companies may look like Ohio Valley Beard Supply
, a First Batch alum that’s gone from selling beard care products at local vendors and craft fairs to being sold in over 70 Fresh Thyme Markets nationally. Or they may look like Mortal Skis
, which entered First Batch with a prototype for skis designed for non-ideal Midwestern snow conditions and has now sold nearly 75 pairs of its first production line, well beyond its goal of 50 pairs.
Or the new cohort of companies might look completely different. It all depends on the creative entrepreneurs who apply to First Batch’s program
by the extended May 6 deadline and are chosen for the June-October class.