Accelerators & Mentor Programs

Accelerators are immersive, highly-concentrated, fixed-term programs for early-stage startups that are looking to grow quickly. They offer business education, mentorship, and usually involve a public pitch day or competition for financing. Mentor programs aim to establish connections between unexperienced startup founders and experienced mentors, where mentors provide previous knowledge and advice to help spur development.

Accelerators

Keystart

Startup Greater Peoria

Startup GP’s Keystart Pre-Accelerator is for first-time entrepreneurs who are ready to get started on their entrepreneurial journey. Entrepreneurs will learn tools and strategies for how to execute on their idea and gain an understanding of what the early development of a startup company looks like.

CONTACT
Randon Gettys
100 S.W. Water St.
Peoria, IL 61602
phone: (309) 495-5972
rgettys@greaterpeoriaedc.org

Brave Launch

Bradley University

Brave Launch is a business accelerator modeled off of the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps accelerator program and Steve Blank’s Lean LaunchPad. The foundation of the program is evidence-based entrepreneurship and agile development, which pushes teams out into the real world to gain insight and develop their business model through customer discovery. A seven week intensive program, the accelerator intends to spur economic development and to accelerate the development of innovative companies. The program culminates in a pitch-day, where the participants will have the opportunity to pitch to investors and those interested from the community.

CONTACT
Ross Miller
1501 W. Bradley Ave.
Jobst Hall 141 – Turner Center for Entrepreneurship
Peoria, IL 61625
phone: (309) 677-2992
rmiller@bradley.edu

Mentor Programs

Guides Program

Startup Greater Peoria

CONTACT
Randon Gettys
100 S.W. Water St.
Peoria, IL 61602
phone: (309) 495-5972
rgettys@greaterpeoriaedc.org

Small Business Development Center

Bradley University

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Bradley University provides free business counseling and low-cost training programs for existing and startup businesses in Central Illinois. The SBDC has done this by providing businesses with the resources needed to solve business-related problems and take advantage of new opportunities. In 2014 alone, they assisted over 257 companies obtain loans and invest equity in excess of $3 million to start or expand their businesses, which created or retained more than 152 jobs.

CONTACT
Ross Miller
1501 W. Bradley Ave.
Jobst Hall 141 – Turner Center for Entrepreneurship
Peoria, IL 61625
phone: (309) 677-2992
rmiller@bradley.edu

SCORE Peoria

Bradley University

SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE has a local Peoria Chapter that is located at the Heartland Partnership on the Peoria Riverfront. Peoria SCORE provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of the entrepreneur. SCORE volunteers are real-world professionals with time-tested knowledge who donate thousands of hours to help small businesses succeed. SCORE Counselors have backgrounds and experience in a wide variety of areas including accounting, finance, marketing, manufacturing, management and business plan preparation.

CONTACT
Bill Axelrod
100 S.W. Water St.
Peoria, IL 61602
phone: (309) 676-0755
william.axelrod@scorevolunteer.org

A.D.M.E. Illinois

Advancing the Development of Minority Entreprenership

Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship (ADME) is an investment program developed to strengthen Illinois’ start-up and small business community by tapping into the potential of underrepresented communities, including African-American, Latino, Asian-American, women, and veteran entrepreneurs. The pilot program will focus on minority-owned businesses and individuals in the Chicago, Peoria and Rockford metropolitan areas.

CONTACT
adme@Illinois.gov