City & state accelerators boost their local economies

Kristin Karaoglu · June 24, 2014 · Short URL:

Launch Tennessee, Arch Grants, The Last Mile share best practices

How are cities and states working with accelerators to create jobs in their local economies? At Splash Oakland, we brought together three accelerators changing the way cities are thinking about entrepreneurship, and job growth. Bambi Francisco, Vator Founder & CEO, moderated the panel. The panelists were Ginger Imster, the executive director of Arch Grants in St. Louis, Charlie Brock, the CEO and President of Launch Tennessee, and Chris Redlitz, the founder of The Last Mile, an accelerator program for incarcerated men and women. 

Some highlights include:

Since its founding in 2012, Arch Grants has through its companies in its program created 190 jobs and more than $6.5 million in revenue to St. Louis. The accelerator has funded 35 startups with $2 million in non-equity grants. The startups have gone on to raise an additional $17.7 million altogether. How to get into Arch Grants? Each year, Arch Grants holds a big startup competition, in which it receives applications online. 

Launch Tennessee operates a state-wide program that oversees nine accelerators. The state provides $250,000 a year, per accelerator to help run the programs. Each accelerator has to match those funds. Launch Tennessee oversees the programs in many ways. Firstly, it puts together events that bring investors and entrepreneurs together. It also helps ensure the nine accelerators are working together and it monitors the success of each accelerator. Some metrics include the amount of follow-on capital startups received, and the amount of follow-on capital companies receive. Launch Tennessee also runs a matching fund, whereby it invests as much as 20% of capital invested by private investors.  Over the last two years, there have been 150 graduates that have raised an aggregate of $47 million in follow-on capital. Across the nine accelerators, there have been 1500 screenings (meeting times between aspiring entrepreneurs and staff).

The Last Miile works with the California Department of Corrections. The premise is to teach entrepreneurship and business skills to inmates. There are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the US, representing 25% of those incarcerated in the world. The Last Mile hopes to make an impact by giving inmates hope and purpose. So far, there have been 35 graduates and seven are employed.    

Save the Date: Splash LA is Oct. 2 in Santa Monica. Keynotes include Jessica Alba and Brian Lee, Founders of The Honest Company. Register here.

Thanks to our Vator Splash Oakland video sponsor, Oakland Forward and Bryan Parker, Oakland Mayoral candidate.   

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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