FIRE Accelerator: 2021 Cohort Application

The FIRE Accelerator is the flagship entrepreneurship program for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP). Now in it's fourth year, the program recently came under the umbrella of the chamber to be the catalyst for the organization's growing role in developing the regional ecosystem to drive innovation within legacy industries and attract leading startups and creative companies to establish or grow their roots on the shores of Lake Erie. 

FIRE Accelerator is integral to business retention and expansion -- a primary economic development driver. By operating within the chamber, cohort participants have access to over 600 business and community leaders and mentors as well as over 40 economic development agencies operating at the state and local levels. 

What Can I Expect As A Participant?

  • Capital Investment: Each selected company will receive a capital investment of up to $50k in the form of a KISS debt instrument.
  • Tailored Curriculum: Workshops and lectures provided by subject matter experts to address knowledge gaps and high-value topics 
  • Strategic Networking: Access to potential Partners, Customers, Investors, suppliers, and more.
  • Mentorship:  Access to regional mentors, program staff mentorship, alumni company mentorship.
  • Exposure:  Presentations at the annual Erie Homecoming Conference, Media opportunities, exposure to regional community, industry, and political leaders, Program culminates in a public demo day

Program Success
In July 2020, FIRE Accelerator merged with Erie Regional Chamber (formerly the Secure Erie Accelerator). Since that time, portfolio companies and program graduates have continued to experience tremendous success and gone on to participate in YCombinator and TechStars. Program graduates have raised an additional $23M, have grown their companies to reach revenues over $19M annually, and have secured customer engagements and investment with local industry leaders including Fortune 500 companies, education institutions, top regional manufacturers, and investment organizations. 

2021 Cohort: Sustainability in Manufacturing
Erie industry has a legacy of grit, hard work, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well today. It has long been a manufacturing hub, boasting industry leaders in Plastic, Metal, and heavy and light manufacturing. The region is home to business ranging from multinational manufacturing firms all the way down to project shops. 

Sustainability has been identified as an area of interest by regional manufacturers and has also become a hot button issue within state and federal governments. Ideal Candidate Companies will improve processes, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce waste for manufacturing companies in the following areas of focus:

  • Lean Manufacturing
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable Development and Design
  • Sustainable Business, Sustainable Strategy, or Sustainable Initiatives
  • Smart Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Specialty Manufacturing

Industry Support
Earlier this year, the Erie Regional Chamber merged with the Erie Regional Manufacturing Partnership (ERMP), an industry-led partnership dedicated to ensuring that manufacturing remains a strong contributor to the regional economy. Formed in 2014 by a group of 20 local manufacturers to develop and implement a plan to identify, qualify and recruit individuals for manufacturing jobs today and in the future. ERMP companies employ close to 9,000 individuals, over 6,000 locally.

These companies are ready and willing to be actively engaged with cohort companies, providing real-world product and service feedback, input, connections, mentorship, and potential partnership over the course of the program. 

Program Summary

  • Funding: Companies receive up to $50,000 in KISS (debt) per company
  • Format: Hybrid sessions (virtual and in-person)
  • Location: Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Cost: $0
  • Company Stage: Seed through Series A with prototype through paying users
  • Cohort Size: up to 10 companies
  • Focus: Sustainability in Manufacturing

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