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Choosing The Right Accelerator

Start-ups are hard. Choose an accelerator that guides you in the right direction.

Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe

"I doubt that Stripe would have worked without YC. It's that simple."

Patrick Collison, Founder, Stripe

Chris Lynch, Founder of Atlas Venture

"Accelerators claim they are in it for the long haul — I call bullshit"

Chris Lynch, Founder, Atlas Venture

Raj Aggarwal, Founder of Localytics

"The network we built with Techstars was incredibly valuable during and after the program."

Raj Aggarwal, Founder, Localytics

What truly matters

Look for partners not investors

Understand your equity’s true worth

Do they know why they succeeded in the past?

Domain expertise > Funding amount

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No accelerator or incubator is perfect for every start-up. Your business’s context and constraints matter. Identify your perfect match by answering this short questionnaire.

Ohio's Top Accelerators By Neighborhoods

Comparing Accelerators

NameAerial ScoreStandard DealAddress#Investments#ExitsDetails
Techstars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University9.9$120K for 6% equityColumbus, OH, USA6,002475Learn more
Rev1 Ventures5.91275 Kinnear Rd, Columbus, OH 43212, USA23624Learn more
Queen City Angels4.74555 Lake Forest Dr Suite 650, Cincinnati, OH 45242, USA564Learn more
OCEAN Accelerator4.62724 Erie Ave #200, Cincinnati, OH 45208, USA222Learn more
FlashStarts4.6Ohio, USA262Learn more
Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator4.6Toronto, OH 43964, USA181Learn more
Launch U4.638 E College St, Oberlin, OH 44074, USALearn more
Flashstarts4.6Ohio, USA261Learn more
Mortar at Bounce4.6526 S Main St, Akron, OH 44311, USA14Learn more
Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise4.6Ohio, USA21Learn more
Aviatra Accelerator4.631 S Main St suite 241, Dayton, OH 45402, USA9Learn more
Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office4.6$150K1524 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201, USA5Learn more
Ohio State University - Center for Entrepreneurship4.6$7.4MFisher College of Business., 2100 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA5Learn more
Bounce Innovation Hub4.5526 S Main St, Akron, OH 44311, USA1Learn more
Case Western University - MS Entrepreneurial Biotechnology4.510900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA1Learn more
University of Dayton - Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership4.51700 S Patterson Blvd, Dayton, OH 45479, USALearn more
Wright State University - Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship4.5115, Medical Sciences, Fairborn, OH 45324, USALearn more
Ohio University - Center for Entrepreneurship4.51 Park Pl, Athens, OH 45701, USALearn more
Youngstown Business Incubator4.5241 W Federal St, Youngstown, OH 44503, USALearn more
Magnet Innovation Center4.5Ohio, USA1Learn more

This page covers the top accelerators and incubators in Ohio.

However if geography isn’t a hard constraint, and you are only looking for the best incubators and accelerators across the US, check here.

Brief Overview Of Different Accelerators

1) Techstars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University

Techstars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Ohio

Techstars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University is a premier startup accelerator program established in collaboration with Techstars and the largest pre-seed investor globally. The accelerator focuses on innovative software solutions addressing global challenges, with key interests in generative AI, cybersecurity, IT infrastructure, healthcare (especially mental health and accessibility), fintech, agtech, climate tech, and software supporting deeptech/quantum innovation. The program runs biannually, with cohorts lasting three months. Notable founders of this initiative include Brad Feld, Chisa Egbelu, Daniel Mason, David Brown, David Cohen, and Jared Polis. The accelerator offers a standard deal of $120K for 6% equity and supports industries like General Tech, Healthcare Tech, Fintech, and Cybersecurity. Participating startups gain access to mentorship, a global entrepreneurial network, resources from The Ohio State University, and a Demo Day to showcase their progress. Techstars Columbus is a hub for audacious founders pioneering disruptive technologies aimed at building critical infrastructure for a better future. 🚀

Techstars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University's Website
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2) Rev1 Ventures

Rev1 Ventures - connecting start-up founders with success

Based in Columbus, Ohio, USA at 1275 Kinnear Rd, 43212, Rev1 Ventures is a seed stage venture capital fund and startup studio that offers funding, startup services, mentoring, and connections to help startups scale and corporates innovate. The organization specializes in various domains like Renewable Energy, Healthcare Tech, Biotech, Robotics, Gaming, and Real Estate Tech. Founded by Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures equips entrepreneurs with essential skills, business plans, and pitches. Their program lasts several weeks, providing intensive mentorship and support. In 2023, the institution sponsored the 'Business Planning for Profitability Accelerator,' with four cohorts totaling 34 entrepreneurs completing the program. With 80 applications received, 62 participants were accepted, culminating in a graduation ceremony on December 6th, 2023. Rev1 Ventures offers 'smarter capital,' supporting startups from early-stage funding to further funding sources. The accelerator fosters a supportive community, providing a collaborative environment, mentorship, and resources. The team comprises builders, investors, operators, and corporate innovators, offering battle-tested expertise to help entrepreneurs thrive and innovate.

Rev1 Ventures's Website
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3) Queen City Angels

Queen City Angels - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Ohio

Queen City Angels (QCA) is a well-established angel group that has been active for 23 years, making it the longest-established organized angel group in the Midwest. With a total of 110 companies invested in and 237 investments made, QCA has allocated $110 million in smart capital to support disruptive startups. The organization, led by founders Kim Banham and Tony Shipley, focuses on providing mentorship and experienced guidance to early-stage businesses in various sectors such as technology, healthcare, and consumer goods. They are passionate about empowering entrepreneurs, recognizing their role in driving the economy, solving problems, and creating job opportunities. The angel group's members work tirelessly to enhance entrepreneurs' success by facilitating access to capital, mentoring founder teams, and offering valuable counsel. QCA's network provides deal-sourcing opportunities, connections with angel investor members, and portfolio companies, fostering beneficial business relationships for all involved. Their funding types include seed, early-stage VC, and late-stage VC, reflecting their commitment to supporting startups at different growth stages.

Queen City Angels's Website
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4) OCEAN Accelerator

OCEAN Accelerator - supporting founders in their growth journey

OCEAN Accelerator is a high-tech accelerator that empowers purpose-driven entrepreneurs to build venture-backable companies through a 17-week program. This comprehensive experience includes seed funding, mentorship, education, and professional services, with a unique focus on integrating faith, purpose, relationships, and holistic health into the startup journey. Cohort 9, the most recent group, received support in refining business strategies, due diligence preparation, and financial model development. The impact of the accelerator is evident as alumni defy the odds of startup failure rates. Key metrics show how it equips founders for success, addressing common pitfalls in the startup world. While supporting industries like healthcare tech, general tech, and SaaS, OCEAN's people-centric approach and hands-on mentorship create a safe and supportive environment for startups. Notable founders of the accelerator include Chad Reynolds, Tim Brunk, and Tim Metzner. It prides itself on fostering purpose and well-being in entrepreneurs, guiding them towards building successful and purposeful ventures.

OCEAN Accelerator's Website
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5) FlashStarts

FlashStarts - supporting founders in their growth journey

FlashStarts, co-founded by Charles Stack and Jennifer Keiser Neundorfer, is a Cleveland-based business startup accelerator and venture fund specializing in healthcare tech, fintech, general tech, and SaaS (Software as a Service) industries. The organization focuses on innovative uses of software and technology, providing resources, capital, and guidance to early-stage entrepreneurs. Despite specific metrics like the number of start-ups associated, investors, funded start-ups, and program duration not being explicitly mentioned, Flashstarts has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs through their labs and accelerator programs from 2013 to 2019. The portfolio companies of FlashStarts have collectively raised over $45 million in follow-on capital. After operating for seven years as a startup accelerator, FlashStarts transitioned to consulting businesses, offering valuable insights for companies aiming to innovate and adapt to evolving technology trends. The organization likely offers typical benefits such as mentorship, co-working spaces, networking opportunities, and investor introductions to its portfolio companies.

FlashStarts's Website
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6) Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator

Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Ohio

Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator, in partnership with Aviva Canada, is a milestone-driven accelerator program designed for early-stage companies, focusing on verticals such as IoT, urban mobility, and the connectivity space. The program has a duration of 6 months and offers a low-risk platform for startups to connect with enterprise partners, validate technologies, and access funding through the Highline Beta network. Startups with a product in-market and early traction are invited to participate, receiving tailored programming, coaching, and support from an enterprise network of smart city and mobility collaborators. Highline Beta, a startup co-creation company, collaborates with leading corporations and founders to launch new ventures. Founders of the accelerator include Benjamin Yoskovitz, Lauren Robinson, and Marcus Daniels. The organization does not take equity for program participation and provides paid pilots for funded start-ups, aiming to empower early-stage companies by amplifying brand awareness, fueling growth, and enabling them to scale their impact in the connected cities domain.

Safe x Connected Cities Accelerator's Website
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7) Launch U

Launch U - enabling start-ups to fundraise successfully

Launch U is an accelerator program affiliated with Oberlin College. It is dedicated to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, focusing on deep tech ventures in industries such as biotech, artificial intelligence, edtech, and blockchain. The program offers resources, mentorship, and guidance to startups and experts passionate about pioneering deep tech innovations. Participants benefit from workshops and training sessions covering various disciplines like innovation, technology, and business. Launch U aims to help entrepreneurs develop and expand their companies by employing lean methodologies and expert mentorship, emphasizing deep tech innovation, and specializing in cryptocurrency crowdfunding. Additionally, the accelerator provides workspace sharing opportunities, project management support, networking events, and job matching services. Launch U stands out as a hub for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to turn their visionary ideas into impactful actions.

Launch U's Website
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8) Flashstarts

Flashstarts - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Ohio

Flashstarts is a Cleveland-based business startup accelerator and venture fund. It was founded in October 2012 by Charles Stack and Jennifer Keiser Neundorfer with the vision of assisting startups in securing funding and exposure in the Cleveland area. The company launched its first accelerator in 2013, investing in 15 startups in the inaugural year. The accelerator program, spanning several months, has supported hundreds of entrepreneurs through labs and accelerator programs. Flashstarts provides resources, capital, and guidance to early-stage entrepreneurs and focuses on unique and innovative uses of software and technology within industries such as General Tech, Healthcare Tech, Fintech, SaaS, and Mobile Apps. Flashstarts offers an internship program, hosts Demo Days for startups to pitch to investors, operates Startmart in downtown Cleveland as a space for startups to collaborate, and manages the Cleveland200 Fund designed to provide startups with investments and growth resources.

Flashstarts's Website
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9) Mortar at Bounce

Mortar at Bounce - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Located at Bounce Innovation Hub in Northeast Ohio, MORTAR at Bounce is a 15-week small business accelerator aiming to help established entrepreneurs, particularly minority- and woman-owned businesses. The accelerator assists in deepening understanding of business ownership and developing a comprehensive business canvas to foster company growth. The culturally competent curriculum guides participants through a cohort-style program, emphasizing peer support. The program structure includes orientation, foundational sessions, advanced learning modules, and practical application weeks. Activities like guest speaker sessions, mentor meetings, and reflective exercises contribute to the entrepreneurs' growth. Notable small businesses from Cohort 9 include My World Studios, Fit after Pink LLC, and Who Knew Investments and Management LLC. Designed for entrepreneurs with non-technology businesses or ideas, it offers benefits such as one-on-one mentorship, pitching opportunities, and ongoing support from the organization and its partners. Founded by Daniel Hampu, the program ultimately seeks to boost local economies and job creation through entrepreneurial empowerment.

Mortar at Bounce's Website
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10) Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise

Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Ohio

Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise (GLIDE) is a regional innovation center, business hub, and incubator space in Northeast Ohio. It was established in 2001 through a partnership involving the Lorain County Commissioners, the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, and Lorain County Community College. The organization's mission is to stimulate economic and job growth in Lorain County and the broader region. GLIDE specializes in supporting technology-focused startups by providing business support services, incubator space, resources like business guidance, and access to funding opportunities such as the Innovation Fund. The institution is led by key individuals including Jim Walborn as Director and Russ Donda as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. It is located on the campus of Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio. While supporting various sectors, the organization focuses on creating a diverse and inclusive community to alleviate suffering. Notable founders of this initiative are Janice Mirikitani and Reverend Cecil Williams. With a strong emphasis on networking, collaboration, and growth, GLIDE plays a pivotal role in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio, particularly in the social media industry.

Great Lakes Innovation and Development Enterprise's Website
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11) Aviatra Accelerator

Aviatra Accelerator - Ohio's true entrepreneurial hub

Aviatra Accelerator, founded in 2010 by Candace Klein, is a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women entrepreneurs through education, resources, and connections. Their expertise in business basics, mentorship, coaching, and access to capital has directly helped 888 women in 2023, with over 4,000 women benefiting from their programs. They boast an 80% business success rate, have created over 15,000 jobs, granted over $1,000,000 in loans, and secured more than $15,000,000 in follow-on funding. The combined revenue of businesses supported by Aviatra exceeds $1,000,000,000. Aviatra offers the 'Momentum Accelerator,' a 10-week, in-person program designed to accelerate business growth, along with various events catering to different entrepreneurship stages. They focus on supporting women across diverse industries and provide a supportive community, coaching, networking opportunities, and access to capital. A 501(c)(3) organization, Aviatra Accelerator is located in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton, OH, dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs succeed in starting and growing their businesses confidently.

Aviatra Accelerator's Website
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12) Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office

Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office - building Ohio's entrepreneurial future

The Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) accelerator, based in Columbus, Ohio, aims to advance university research by translating innovations into global business opportunities. Serving as the primary resource for inventors, the accelerator evaluates, protects, and finds markets for intellectual property through licensing or creating startup companies. The TCO offers the Accelerator Awards program, providing grants of up to $150,000 per project to faculty for validating technologies' commercial viability. The program actively supports venture creation and specializes in diverse domains like technology and life sciences, fostering entrepreneurship by licensing successful technologies to Ohio-based startups. Founded by Rutherford B. Hayes, the TCO accelerator plays a vital role in bridging academia and market-ready technologies. Those with groundbreaking research ideas can reach the Technology Commercialization Office at Mount Hall, 1050 Carmack Road, Columbus, OH 43210.

Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office's Website
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13) Ohio State University - Center for Entrepreneurship

Ohio State University - Center for Entrepreneurship - connecting start-up founders with success

The Ohio State University's Center for Entrepreneurship, including the Presidents Buckeye Accelerator program, offers a comprehensive platform for student entrepreneurs. Structured with entrepreneurship skill building, mentorship, community building, and funding, the program begins with a six-week Boost Camp followed by a year-long accelerator program for six student ventures. Since its establishment in 2015, the Accelerator Awards have provided over 7.4 million dollars to 90 unique projects, fostering the creation of more than 20 startup companies. Led by the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship, the accelerator focuses on developing skills like commercial excellence, customer centricity, and leadership while providing access to coaches and industry expertise. Participants benefit from community connections, digital support, and exposure to the local startup ecosystem. The program, founded by Rutherford B. Hayes, specializes in industries such as Edtech and General Tech, offering access to capital and additional funding post-graduation, and a structured process for validation and commercialization.

Ohio State University - Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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14) Bounce Innovation Hub

Bounce Innovation Hub - promoting the start-ups of tomorrow

Founded in January 2018, Bounce Innovation Hub is the region's first open innovation hub supporting northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial and innovation community. Located in Akron, Ohio, the accelerator operates the Bounce Software Accelerator, a minimum three-month program for startups developing software products across various industries. The program aims to guide founders in building, launching, and growing their startups towards revenue and investment readiness, with acceptance on a rolling basis. The hub offers over 300,000 square feet of coworking, event, meeting, and office space downtown. Additionally, it provides access to advisors, potential investors, co-working space, startup services, and one-on-one sessions with entrepreneurs in residence. Leveraging the experience of The Bit Factory, Bounce's advisors have supported more than 20 founders across 12 startups. The accelerator is open to startups from any sector, with specialization in General Tech and SaaS. Daniel Hampu is among the key people involved. Apart from the accelerator, Bounce runs an incubator and a mentoring program, as well as features a makerspace, startup offices, event areas, and a workshop program.

Bounce Innovation Hub's Website
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15) Case Western University - MS Entrepreneurial Biotechnology

Case Western University - MS Entrepreneurial Biotechnology - building Ohio's entrepreneurial future

The Entrepreneurial Biotechnology (EB) program at Case Western Reserve University is a two-year professional Master of Science (MS) program in Biology, offered in collaboration with the CWRU School of Law and the Case School of Medicine. It aims to equip individuals with biotechnology knowledge, business skills, and technology innovation expertise. The program attracts students with biology-related degrees, strong work ethic, and a passion for entrepreneurship. Graduates pursue careers in research or technology-centered roles such as CTO, Program Manager, and Business Development Associate, with an average salary of $70,000 according to a 2009 survey. EB benefits from partnerships with organizations like JumpStart and BioEnterprise, offering real-world experiences and internship opportunities. Specializing in biotechnology fields like vaccine development and forensics, the program provides a flexible curriculum, industry networks, paid internships, and access to cutting-edge facilities. Founded by Leonard Case Jr., the university also offers a Regenerative Medicine and Entrepreneurship program, highlighting its commitment to interdisciplinary education and innovation in industries like Biotech and Edtech.

Case Western University - MS Entrepreneurial Biotechnology's Website
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16) University of Dayton - Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

University of Dayton - Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership - building Ohio's entrepreneurial future

The L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Dayton in Dayton offers a unique approach to entrepreneurship education. Students in the entrepreneurship major have the opportunity to launch microbusinesses, interact with rapid growth companies, and learn from successful entrepreneurs. Real-world experiences at the institution include business consulting, microlending, angel investing, internships, mentorship, and student competitions. Emphasizing entrepreneurship for the common good, students are encouraged to create profitable ventures that contribute to the community. The center is recognized as one of the top 50 entrepreneurship programs in the nation by the Princeton Review, with a 100% rate of entrepreneurship students starting and running a business. Operating the 6th largest student-run business in the country, it generates $2.1 million in revenue. Additional initiatives include The Hub Powered by PNC Bank at the Dayton Arcade and the Greater West Dayton Incubator, aiming to broaden the ecosystem and serve the common good. Its multidisciplinary approach likely covers a wide range of industries, offering a valuable resource for aspiring entrepreneurs at the University of Dayton.

University of Dayton - Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership's Website
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17) Wright State University - Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Wright State University - Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Ohio

Located in Fairborn, OH, Wright State University offers the Master's in Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MEIE) program in collaboration with the Department of Biomedical, Industrial, and Human Factors Engineering and the Raj Soin College of Business. The program aims to blend business and engineering perspectives, emphasizing problem-solving, creative thinking, and hands-on business plan development. Students benefit from industry exposure, multicultural team collaboration, and interactions with high-tech entrepreneurs in Dayton. Admissions are open to applicants from various backgrounds, with prerequisites for non-engineering majors. The curriculum covers the economics of innovation, technological ventures, and entrepreneurship. Students gain access to diverse computing platforms and software tools. Graduates are equipped with technical skills and business acumen for success in entrepreneurship. Although not currently accepting students, the program offers a graduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in High Technology with a similar curriculum. The MEIE program at Wright State University stands out for preparing students for the fast-paced world of innovation and entrepreneurship, with notable industries including Edtech and General Tech.

Wright State University - Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship's Website
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18) Ohio University - Center for Entrepreneurship

Ohio University - Center for Entrepreneurship - supporting Ohio's best founders

The Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship is a collaborative effort between Ohio University's College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Their mission is to equip every student, graduate, and partner with an entrepreneurial mindset and skills. The center focuses on solving problems and improving people's lives through entrepreneurship by providing coaching, mentorship, and access to experiences that develop resourcefulness, courage, creativity, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and leadership skills. The center offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship aimed at fostering an entrepreneurial mindset among students, including non-business majors. In 2018, the CoLab space was opened on the third floor of Alden Library, offering a physical space for ideation, collaboration, meetings, classes, prototype development, and venture launches. Additionally, the Voinovich School APEX Accelerator works with businesses in 62 Ohio counties to identify and pursue opportunities to contract with government agencies. The center focuses on various domains such as technology, social impact, and business development, supporting ventures across diverse industries. Founded by Manasseh Cutler, their aim is to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset, provide practical skills, and foster innovation across disciplines in industries like Edtech and General Tech.

Ohio University - Center for Entrepreneurship's Website
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19) Youngstown Business Incubator

Youngstown Business Incubator - Ohio's true entrepreneurial hub

Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) is a renowned business incubator located at 241 W Federal St, Youngstown, Ohio, 44503. It specializes in cultivating B2B software application companies with a focus on digital businesses and advanced manufacturing technologies. The accelerator offers tailored programs for women-owned and minority-owned businesses through initiatives like the Women in Entrepreneurship Program and Minority Business Assistance Center. YBI has supported numerous start-ups in the digital space and advanced manufacturing sector. The facility comprises five renovated buildings in the Tech Block of Downtown Youngstown, Ohio, providing cutting-edge equipment and resources like 3D printers. The dedicated staff at YBI provides entrepreneurial counseling, assists in accessing capital, and facilitates product commercialization by connecting entrepreneurs with skilled developers and designers. Additionally, YBI collaborates with Ohio manufacturers on technology integration and offers state certification assistance through the Minority Business Assistance Center. Industries supported by YBI include General Tech and SaaS (Software as a Service). Notable founders and start-ups have successfully benefited from YBI's programs, solidifying its role in driving entrepreneurship, digital innovation, and manufacturing advancements in Youngstown, Ohio.

Youngstown Business Incubator's Website
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20) Magnet Innovation Center

Magnet Innovation Center - supporting Ohio's best founders

Magnet Innovation Center, also known as MAGNET, is a key player in fostering innovation and growth in the manufacturing sector of Northeast Ohio. Their mission is to drive the region's manufacturing growth by supporting small- and mid-sized manufacturers, with a vision to transform Northeast Ohio into a global hub for smart manufacturing. By 2032, the center aims to create 30,000 jobs and increase the Gross Regional Product (GRP) by $40 billion. MAGNET offers services in innovation, talent development, and leadership, including helping companies with prototypes, manufacturing processes, and go-to-market strategies. They specialize in various manufacturing domains such as engineering and cybersecurity. The center hosts the Manufacturing Innovation, Technology & Job Center, a $20 million facility in Cleveland, providing resources and training for manufacturers. While specific metrics on start-ups and investors are undisclosed, MAGNET's dedication to driving economic growth and competitiveness in the region is evident through events like industry best practices sharing sessions.

Magnet Innovation Center's Website
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21) SEA Change

SEA Change - supporting founders in their growth journey

SEA Change is a Social Enterprise Accelerator based in Northeast Ohio. They offer a 16-week program designed to support social entrepreneurs in creating sustainable businesses with meaningful social impact right from Day 1. The organization aims to engrain social impact into businesses early on, rather than waiting for substantial profits. Since 2015, SEA Change has had 353 alumni who have collectively made a significant impact. The accelerator provides support, helps refine business models, and offers exposure opportunities, including appearances on platforms like Shark Tank. Alumni of SEA Change include successful start-ups like Aunt Flow, BESA, POINT, and Peaceful Fruits. The program is available in Northeast Ohio, Central Ohio, and Colorado. Entrepreneurs can also run cohorts in their cities by licensing the curriculum. SEA Change's initiatives span industries such as Clean Energy and Personal Finance, positioning them as a key player in the social entrepreneurship ecosystem, with a proven track record of empowering entrepreneurs to scale their impact and reach.

SEA Change's Website
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22) ViveX VR Accelerator

ViveX VR Accelerator - supporting founders in their growth journey

Founded by Thomas Dabarno, ViveX VR Accelerator is a top startup accelerator program focused on nurturing Virtual Reality (VR) companies within the XR (Extended Reality) ecosystem. With a substantial investment fund totaling $100 million, it operates globally in cities like San Francisco, London, Taipei, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Tel Aviv. The program typically spans four months and has attracted 33 companies in its first batch, with a clear focus on Seed, Series A, and Series B stages. Entrepreneurs benefit from invaluable connections with industry leaders like Robert Scoble and Charles Huang, co-founder of Guitar Hero, along with access to tailored mentorship and networking opportunities with venture capitalists. ViveX supports various domains within XR, including gaming, entertainment, education, healthcare, and enterprise applications. Additionally, the accelerator offers customized remote programs, fosters collaboration among startups, provides exposure at conferences like the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, and facilitates introductions to potential partners and customers. It is a prime choice for VR innovators seeking funding and guidance to thrive in the virtual reality landscape.

ViveX VR Accelerator's Website
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23) Parallax Advanced Research

Parallax Advanced Research - accelerating exceptional start-ups in Ohio

Parallax Advanced Research is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research institute that focuses on accelerating investments in U.S. science and technology to tackle global challenges. Collaborating with government, academia, and industry, they drive innovation and technology development. Recently, the organization secured a $97.5 million MATRIX contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory for research in areas like human-machine teaming. This contract is projected to generate $87 million in payroll over seven years, boosting the local economy. Their specialization in AI, machine learning, and human-machine interactions allows them to work across diverse fields like data science. Parallax collaborates extensively to access a wide range of expertise and resources. Although specifics like the number of startups involved are undisclosed, they emphasize that their impact transcends mere numbers. With a commitment to research and development, Parallax significantly contributes to technology advancements and solutions, benefiting both the local community and national security. Key industries where the organization operates include Artificial Intelligence.

Parallax Advanced Research's Website
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24) GiveBackHack

GiveBackHack - a prominent start-up growth supporter in Ohio

GiveBackHack is an accelerator program that focuses on social enterprise ideas. It serves as a launchpad for social impact startups, encouraging both brand-new ideas and partially-vetted concepts. Participants can submit their ideas in advance or pitch them on Friday night. The program evaluates the progress of partially-vetted ideas to determine suitability for the event, with accepted ideas receiving a free ticket and being posted in advance for all attendees to see. GiveBackHack specializes in social impact and sustainable solutions, where participants leverage AI and other tools to accelerate their journey from ideation to impactful solutions. The program provides resources, connections, and an alumni community to help startups progress further. It offers access to accelerators, funding opportunities, and support for pursuing new social impact ideas. Led by a team that emphasizes innovation, collaboration, and positive change, GiveBackHack brings the community together to address social problems through entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on industries such as Artificial Intelligence.

GiveBackHack's Website
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25) HCDC's Business Center

HCDC's Business Center - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Ohio

HCDC's Business Center is a nationally-recognized startup business incubator located in Southwest Ohio. Since its establishment in 1989, it has been instrumental in supporting entrepreneurs in Greater Cincinnati. The center has successfully nurtured over 360 ideas into products or scalable businesses over the past 25+ years, facilitating a substantial capital investment of $500 million. Offering coaching, mentorship, and business growth programming like 'Morning Mentoring' and 'eKickStart,' the center focuses on technology-oriented businesses. HCDC provides access to capital for startups and fosters a collaborative environment where companies can exchange ideas and support each other. With office spaces ranging from 150 sq ft to 1200 sq ft and a CoWorks Program for shared working spaces, it continues to play a vital role in driving economic growth in the region. Key people involved include the center's dedicated staff and mentors. Notable startups that have benefited from the program include those in the General Tech industry.

HCDC's Business Center's Website
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26) Horizon Two Labs

Horizon Two Labs - connecting start-up founders with success

Horizon Two Labs is a venture studio that specializes in collaborating with entrepreneurs, inventors, and corporations to turn ideas into successful businesses. Their services encompass research, technology scouting, market intelligence, product strategy, engineering, web development, and product design, with a focus on technology startups within industries such as General Tech and SaaS. The accelerator offers programs, startup bootcamps, and joint ventures to support the development and launch of innovative concepts. Horizon Two Labs is known for its expertise in digital product development, including prototyping. Founded by Matt Armstead, the studio's mission is to drive entrepreneurship and innovation by providing a comprehensive platform for transforming visions into market-ready solutions.

Horizon Two Labs's Website
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27) Start:ME Evanston

Start:ME Evanston - Ohio's true entrepreneurial hub

Start:ME Evanston is an intensive 14-week accelerator program that supports micro-entrepreneurs in the Evanston area. The program offers business training, mentorship, and early-stage financing to promising micro-entrepreneurs running businesses with 1-4 employees. Participants benefit from hands-on learning, business acumen, networking opportunities with local professionals, tailored mentorship, and community events. The program aims to create a supportive ecosystem where micro-entrepreneurs can thrive and grow their businesses. Start:ME Evanston caters to various industry domains and focuses on building a solid foundation for small businesses. Selected ventures receive guaranteed, low-cost loans chosen by the entrepreneurs. While specific investor details are not available, the program ensures access to early-stage financing through a dedicated loan fund. Notable individuals leading this initiative include the program's key people. Over the course of 14 weeks, micro-entrepreneurs receive the necessary support and resources to take their businesses to the next level.

Start:ME Evanston's Website
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28) Braintree Business Development Center

Braintree Business Development Center - supporting Ohio's best founders

Established in 1986, the Braintree Business Development Center is an incubation and entrepreneurship program that supports startup technology companies primarily in the greater Mansfield and Ashland areas of Northeast Ohio. They have been providing critical resources to numerous early-stage companies in various specialization domains including Edtech, Artificial Intelligence, Clean Energy, Fintech, and Robotics. The program offers resources such as business planning, intellectual property guidance, pitch preparation, and market validation. Financing options are available through Appleseed Microfinance and the Tech Sprout Fund. Networking events like Caffeinated Ideas and SunDown RunDown further support entrepreneurs. Braintree maintains incubation and coworking spaces in Ashland and Mansfield, serving as a valuable hub for startups in the region.

Braintree Business Development Center's Website
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29) AD Stretch

AD Stretch - a modern, innovative hub for start-ups in Ohio

The AD Stretch accelerator, powered by Avery Dennison, collaborates with startup innovators to solve real business problems and drive impactful solutions. The program focuses on three main challenge areas: Customer Engagement, Sustainability, and Materials Innovation, aiming to boost innovation capabilities by partnering with startups. While the exact number of associated startups is unspecified, they engage with promising startups globally. The accelerator operates in structured cohorts, starting in Asia Pacific and Latin America, then expanding to Europe and the U.S. AD Stretch specializes in Connecting Consumers to Brands, Sustainable, Responsible, and Efficient Value Chains (SRE), and Materials and Packaging 2.0. They collaborate with venture studio Highline Beta to attract top startups and select 10 finalists for pilot projects after a thorough review process. Industries of focus include Logistics and Supply Chain and Clean Energy.

AD Stretch's Website
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30) The Ideation Lab

The Ideation Lab - supporting founders in their growth journey

The Ideation Lab, LLC is a visionary company founded in 2019 in Ohio. They focus on developing Hemp Infused Brands and other wellness products in segments like Functional Beverages, Skincare, Personal Care, Pet Lifestyle, and Women's Mental Wellness. The accelerator leverages its success in turning a CBD skincare line into a multi-million dollar brand to now operate a leading Hemp Consumer Package Goods and Services Company. The company specializes in creating high-value brands with mass distribution opportunities. They seek collaborations and strategic partnerships, open to merger opportunities with like-minded entrepreneurs. The expertise of the organization lies in Healthcare Tech and Food and Beverage industries, emphasizing innovation in Functional Beverages, Healthy Snacks, and more, to meet consumer demands in the Beauty and Wellness sectors.

The Ideation Lab's Website
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Top Reasons Start-ups Participate In Accelerators

Investor connect

Accelerators give an opening to many locked doors.

Network expansion

Your net-worth is greatly determined by your network.

Critical Industry connections

A good connection at an FMCG/AI giant can help you 10x more than connecting with 100 retailers.

Early state financing

Big ideas arise mostly when you don’t have to worry about day to day expenses.

Why an accelerator might not be right for you

It's usually helpful to consider potential pitfalls. Some common misconceptions

One-size fits all model

Most accelerators don't focus on a specific niche, which may not be very helpful if you are looking for domain expertise.

Only you feel the punch

Everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face. Strategy & accelerators can only guide you to a point. No one else will feel the struggle as you would.

Are the alumni actually helpful?

An accelerator's alumni network can play a big role in your longer term growth. But ask around and figure if any of them gave back even a couple of hours in the past year.

FAQs About Start-up Accelerators

Author Bio

Michael Li

Michael Li

For the last 10+ years Michael has helped start-ups of all scales and sizes succeed. A 2X entrepreneur, he is now working on Aerial to help founders avoid costly mistakes. He regularly writes for publications like the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Harvard Business Review and others.

Last updated date 4/5/2024

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Accelerators and Incubators in ohio

Looking for the best accelerators in Ohio? There are numerous reasons to choose an accelerator to kickstart your startup journey. From access to funding and resources to mentorship and networking opportunities, accelerators provide a supportive ecosystem for early-stage ventures. Ohio's vibrant start-up culture offers a thriving community of entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors who are keen on fostering innovation and growth. When selecting the right accelerator for your start-up, consider factors such as industry focus, program duration, mentor network, investment terms, and success stories. By aligning your start-up's goals and needs with the accelerator's program offerings, you can maximize your chances of achieving success and reaching new milestones in your entrepreneurial journey. Some notable start-ups from Ohio that have thrived after going through accelerator programs include CoverMyMeds, Updox, and BoxCast, showcasing the immense potential for growth and success in the state's start-up ecosystem.

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