In the summer of 2020, the Board of Collier County Commissioners collaborated with Florida Gulf Coast University’s rapidly growing Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship to develop and host the Naples Business Accelerator Program.
The Naples Business Accelerator Program is a 6 month rolling cohort program to accelerate growing businesses in Collier County. Businesses accepted into the Accelerator Program have access to resources and programming developed by the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship, whose program is ranked #30 in the Nation and #1 in the State of Florida for entrepreneurship education.
Depending on the membership level selected, the businesses also have access to space to run their businesses at the Naples Accelerator building located on Kraft Road in Naples, Florida.
The innovative space offers different levels of membership, from virtual to deluxe suite, and offers office space, conference rooms, technology to run your business, and many more amenities such as free coffee, beverages, and snacks.
Programming for the Accelerator includes biweekly training sessions on areas such as problem and customer validation, digital design, marketing, analytics and financials, one-on-one mentorship from expert FGCU faculty and staff mentors, and student interns to help with specific tasks, such as optimizing a website or social media content development and advertising.
Additionally, businesses in the Accelerator Program have access to over 25 hours of online material that covers different topics related to entrepreneurship. After the businesses complete the 6 month program and reach their milestones, they will be invited to participate in the biannual Demo Day, where they can showcase their businesses to local investors.
Potential investors will be made up of local Angel Investing Groups, such as the Tamiami Angel Fund and New World Angels.
The first rolling cohort began in August 2020, and so far, 21 businesses are in the program, including FGCU alumni. Some industries include healthcare, product development, electric vehicles, solar energy, and mobile applications.
As part of the program, the Daveler & Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship brought on two Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and a program coordinator to work at the Naples Accelerator, so businesses in the Accelerator Program would have consistent access to FGCU faculty and staff mentors and resources. This collaboration is unique, because it provides both a great space to share with like minded individuals where they can build a network and share experiences, as well as programming to ensure businesses are hitting critical milestones.
The Accelerator Program is open to businesses residing in Collier County that are in the growth phase. The program heavily focuses on the optimization of business processes, the business model, and finances, so ideal businesses for the program will be in the growth phase.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses can attend the program virtually or in person. All businesses tha tapply will go through a vetting stage to determine eligibility, and pricing is based upon membership level.
The Naples Business Accelerator Program is currently accepting applications for the next cohort program, and priority will be given to businesses that apply on or before January 4, 2021. Spaces are limited.
For more information or to apply for the program, please visit: https://www.collieredo.org/naples-accelerator.