FIRE Accelerator Program Now Accepting Applications
ERIE, PA — The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership launched its rebranded FIRE Accelerator program, the cornerstone of its expanded entrepreneurship and startup services. The program — formerly Secure Erie Accelerator — merged under the Chamber umbrella in July 2020 amidst the pandemic, successfully hosting 10 companies last year through the accelerator program. It aims to jumpstart early-stage businesses and bring economic growth to the region.
The FIRE Accelerator Program, which stands for Finding Innovative Recruits for Erie, is accepting applications for the fourth cohort, which will begin this fall. The application deadline is July 31st.
This year’s cohort will focus on sustainability in manufacturing, which is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as the “creation of manufactured products through economically sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts and that also enhance employee, community, and product safety.”
To date, the FIRE Accelerator has made investments into 22 portfolio companies, which have grown their businesses to $19M in collective revenue and raised an additional $22M in follow-on funding.
“Programs like FIRE Accelerator are critical to entrepreneurial ecosystems in communities,” stated program director Jordan Fuller. “Half of the program graduates have established a business presence in Erie, made key hires from our community, have secured local customers, or established offices here.”
This year’s focus comes on the heels of the Chamber merging with the Erie Regional Manufacturing Partnership. The group of 20 manufacturing leaders became part of the Erie Regional Chamber at the outset of 2021 to work together to address key workforce issues. This partnership will also allow front-line access for FIRE Accelerator program participants.
“A true benefit to our accelerator is the direct access we can provide cohort companies into the regional manufacturing via mentorship, partnership, customer feedback, and the like,” said Fuller. “It provides an infrastructure, resources, and collaborative network to iterate at rapid speed.”
Ideal applicants will work with manufacturers to improve processes, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and reduce waste. Each selected company will receive a capital investment of up to $50,000 in the form of a KISS debt instrument. Workshops and lectures provided by subject matter experts to address knowledge gaps and high-value topics. Participants will have access to potential partners, customers, investors, and suppliers, as well as regional mentors, program staff mentorship, alumni company mentorship. The cohort culminates with presentations at Erie Homecoming 2021. To learn more or to apply visit: https://www.eriepa.com/FIRE-Accelerator-Program.