ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NextCorps, a non-profit that runs multiple incubator and accelerator programs for technology startups and entrepreneurs in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region of New York, announced today that it has been awarded a grant through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Scaling Pandemic Resilience Through Innovation and Technology (SPRINT) Challenge. The award will be used to launch and administer a software startup accelerator for non-technical founders. The EDA grant, totaling $743,000, will be combined with matching and in-kind funds of $241,000 to support the nearly $1 million program.
A 2019 study done by the Boston Consulting Group identified the software sector as a key pillar for long-term economic growth in the Rochester region. The software accelerator will begin to tap this potential by combining several unique components, including:
- Leveraging the “no-code” movement to help non-technical founders build scalable web and mobile applications, and get these startups quickly on the path to revenue (within one year) with no outside funding.
- Engaging students from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the University of Rochester (UR) to work closely with these founders on their startups, and potentially encouraging them to remain in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region post-graduation.
- Encouraging partners involved in the initiative to create a software cluster capable of fostering economic growth for years to come.
Partners in the accelerator will include RIT and UR, along with Excell Partners (which will help the founders with due diligence and investment strategies), as well as local software, professional services, and investment companies that will provide mentoring to founders on a pro-bono basis. These companies include Datto, Live Tiles, ITX Corp, Innovative Solutions, Armory Square Ventures, Bonadio Group, Nixon Peabody, T4 Verge, Rivet CX, OneSpark, VisibleMR, Advise.us, and FocusGroupIt.
“The accelerator will help us to establish a repeatable model for developing high-growth software startups in the Rochester region, which will increase the resilience of the area to economic disruptions caused by events like the COVID-19 pandemic,” said James Senall, President, NextCorps. “It will also increase our innovation capacity and foster the creation of high-wage jobs locally.”
Forty-four organizations from 25 states and Puerto Rico were selected from a pool of 238 applicants to receive grants, totaling $29 million. Together, the organizations will leverage approximately $9 million in additional matching funds from various private and public sector sources.
The software accelerator will be run out of NextCorps’ state-of-the-art startup incubator facility in downtown Rochester, NY, which is located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. The accelerator will recruit founders to participate from across a nine-county region, including Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties.
EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) administers the SPRINT Challenge, as authorized through the CARES Act. The challenge builds on the momentum of EDA’s Build to Scale Program, which builds regional economies through scalable startups. For more information on EDA’s SPRINT Challenge, visit https://eda.gov/oie/sprint/.
NextCorps is a non-profit catalyst for entrepreneurship in the Rochester area and Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. It helps tech startups and existing manufacturers grow their businesses through a variety of programs and mentoring opportunities. NextCorps also provides incubation to more than 65 startups, and educational and coaching services to many more companies. Visit www.nextcorps.org to learn more about how our programs and services.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.