Main Street Ventures seeks student innovators for summer business accelerator

The application period is now open for the next round of Launch It: Cincy, a summer business accelerator for student innovators and entrepreneurs.

Now in its third year, the program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to spend two months living and working in Cincinnati. They’ll receive access to office space, mentoring, financial support and other resources to grow their concept.

The initiative is run by Main Street Ventures, an Over-the-Rhine-based entrepreneur support organization providing equity-free funding to startups across Greater Cincinnati.

Connor Paton of Noshable takes part in the 2023 Launch It: Cincy summer program. (Photo courtesy of Ross Van Pelt)
Connor Paton of Noshable takes part in the 2023 Launch It: Cincy summer program.
(photo by Ross Van Pelt)

Sean Parker, Main Street Ventures’ executive director, stressed that the goal of the program is to provide the students with some of the best resources in the local ecosystem to help them build their business.

Applications are due by Dec. 1.

“Cincinnati is a great place to start and build a business, and we are excited to provide the opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs to get started right here by providing coveted connections and welcoming them into the startup space,” Parker said.

Launch It: Cincy is open to students living or attending school in a region stretching from Dayton, Ohio to Lexington, Ky.

Selected applicants will attend a pitch training in January to prepare them for what’s known as Pitch Day on Feb. 16. During the event, applicants will present a business pitch and answer questions from a panel of judges. Several pitches will be chosen to take part in the program in June. Each team – made up of one or more students – will then take part in showcase event in late July.

Camryn Ellis, founder and CEO of Ryn

The prize package is valued at more than $28,000 and includes housing and living expenses for the duration of the program. That includes a $10,000 grant participants will receive at the end of the summer to serve as seed funding to support the growth of their startup.

Three teams took part in last summer’s program. One of them was Camryn Ellis, founder and CEO of Ryn, a mobile app that helps a user style their wardrobe using artificial intelligence. The recent University of Cincinnati graduate called the pro bono legal support, assistance with public relations and marketing and financial advising “immensely helpful.”

Ellis credited Main Street Ventures with providing access to resources and personnel that she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford.

“The connections they made for us with different players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem have enabled us to create a network that will last well beyond the program – and as anyone in entrepreneurship knows – networks (and) connections are key,” she said.

Launch It: Cincy

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