COLUMBIA, S.C. - GrowCo, where Columbia’s startups start, announced today the launch of the gALPHA Columbia Accelerator in partnership with global venture firm and startup accelerator, gener8tor. The inaugural program is a free, four-week venture-creation workshop designed to help first-time entrepreneurs create high-growth startups from scratch in Columbia.
The gener8tor gALPHA program will provide product ideas, mentorship and coaching to teams of participants and then work with startups individually for one month to help them develop an innovative and marketable product or solution. Applications are now being accepted through November 28, with the accelerator program to kick off in early December 2022.
Funding for the gALPHA Columbia Accelerator was made possible by investments into GrowCo from The Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation and the City of Columbia.
“GrowCo's mission is to build and support a founder-friendly ecosystem where innovators support each other and thrive," said Caroline Crowder, executive director of GrowCo. “Just as the Boyd Foundation’s investment in Columbia’s entrepreneurs is the cornerstone of this founder-first movement, the gALPHA accelerator serves as a welcoming front door and reinforces this culture of innovation in Columbia."
Joe Wilczewski, executive director of the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation observed, “The Boyd Foundation has a proud history of investing in programs that enrich the lives of the citizens of Columbia. Mr. Boyd was an entrepreneur himself who loved Columbia and would be thrilled to see founders of all backgrounds and experiences being embraced by the GrowCo team in the Boyd Community Innovation Center.”
Mayor Daniel Rickenman added, “The City of Columbia is proud to be the leading supporter of GrowCo and gener8tor on the launch of the new gALPHA Columbia Accelerator program. This workshop will assist our budding local entrepreneurs with concept development and provide them with access to valuable thought leadership and mentoring opportunities. gALPHA is a tested and proven framework and showcases one more way the public and private sector are collaborating to drive talent retention, innovation and homegrown entrepreneurship.”
Together, the partners of the gALPHA Columbia Accelerator aim to grow Columbia’s high-growth scene by creating complete, well-rounded teams and setting them on a path to build new products and innovations with $1B+ potential.
“We’re thrilled to partner with GrowCo to bring this program to life and bolster entrepreneurship in Columbia,” said Linda Janes, director of the gener8tor gALPHA Columbia Accelerator. “We’ve seen the incredible economic impact of the gALPHA program in other parts of the country, and we’re excited to collaborate with GrowCo to bring that same impact to Columbia.”
Community members who are interested in building a startup may apply through the gALPHA Columbia registration website.
All entrepreneurially minded community members in Columbia or those that are interested in learning more about gALPHA’s programming and resources are encouraged to visit the gener8tor gALPHA website.
Created in 2019, GrowCo is a non-profit created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. GrowCo’s mission is to:
inspire new entrepreneurs to start and grow their companies in the Midlands;
serve founders/startup executives throughout their entire journey to establish, validate and grow their high-growth company,build a culture where founders and their employees lead the community; there is positive, frictionless peer-to-peer support; there is a foundation of trust among community members; bad actors and the transactional mindset are not welcomed.
gener8tor is a global venture firm and accelerator network that supports startups, workers, employers, artists and musicians across race, place and gender. gener8tor partners with companies, governments, universities and nonprofits to operate programs and conferences in more than 41 communities across 22 states and two countries. Fast Company named gener8tor one of the Best Workplaces for Innovators in 2021 and 2022. The International Trade Council recognized gener8tor as Global Venture Capital Firm of the Year in 2022.
gALPHA is a free, four-week venture-creation workshop designed to help entrepreneurially minded participants create high-growth startups from scratch. Many of the startups built through gALPHA have been accepted into subsequent gener8tor programming, such as gBETA or other accelerators, and have raised more than $500,000 in venture funding.
The Boyd Foundation creates, supports, implements, and promotes outdoor recreational opportunities and facilities; the appreciation of wildlife, beautification of urban areas, educational programs; and the enhancement of the quality of life of the citizens of Columbia, South Carolina and the Midlands at large. These were and are the special interests of our founders, Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd.
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