By Robbie Coon, program coordinator for Bounce
“How can Bounce help me?” I get this question a lot. I mean, A LOT. And for good reason! There is so much happening within Bounce right now that it is easy to be overwhelmed and even confused when you are looking in from the outside.
In my role as a program coordinator, I handle intake and work closely with entrepreneurs of all types. And one of the things I do the most is help people understand how Bounce can help them.
So, I thought I would take this opportunity to break down what goes on inside here, who we help and what you can do to apply for a program or become a part of Bounce.
A quick note before we get started, though: if, after reading this, you’re still unsure about where to start, you are always welcome to reach out to us. We know the regional entrepreneurial support network and have access to all kinds of resources. If Bounce programs aren’t right or you aren’t ready for them yet, we can direct you to ones that may be a better fit for you.
The Big Picture
Bounce is an umbrella, nonprofit organization that houses multiple programs and a variety of services that help entrepreneurs. Currently, our focus is on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) companies who have a proprietary technology component, meaning they have developed, or are in the process of developing, some type of new technology that solves a problem in their industry. These companies are a part of our incubator and accelerator programs.
When our newly renovated first floor “Generator” space opens in May, we will be open to entrepreneurs of all types, offering co-working space, office space, a coffee shop and café, event space and makerspace. We will also be able to connect those needing help with the appropriate resources.
But for now (and this is where my primary focus falls), I’d like to tell you more about our incubator and accelerator programs.
The Bounce incubator is our signature program, with more than 45 early- and later-stage startups currently enrolled. The program is for companies in STEM; specifically, advanced manufacturing, advanced materials, biomedical, life sciences, sensors and software. It combines intensive business counseling and support from veteran entrepreneurs (entrepreneurs in residence) and mentorship with affordable office, lab or light manufacturing space to provide startups a place to thrive. Through this program, a business moves into Bounce and is also introduced to the Bounce network, as well as a thriving community. Our network consists of mentors in the Northeast Ohio innovative ecosystem, like-minded entrepreneurs and other local industry professionals.
Bounce tenants in the incubator are thrilled to be able to use the network while maintaining a presence in a professional, physical location. By offering affordable space, Bounce companies can invest more into other aspects of their business which gives them a better chance to succeed.
Anyone interested in becoming a part of our incubator should fill out our intake form to learn more.
A business accelerator is designed to be a heavily structured, time-limited, intensive program that quite literally accelerates an early-stage business to build quick momentum. Accelerators assist businesses by giving them access to meaningful mentorship, potential investors and targeted education initiatives. To put it simply: a business accelerator teaches entrepreneurs almost everything they need to know.
Because of the significant engaging nature of business accelerators, we are very selective when it comes to determining who can make it into the accelerator programs we offer. We currently run two accelerators:
Product Development Accelerator
In January, Bounce launched its first product development accelerator. The program lasts four months and is intended to help very early-stage software startups put together the first iteration of a product to bring to market. This accelerator is cohort-based, meaning each of the companies participating are brought together at various times throughout the program to learn from one another by discussing challenges and successes and taking part in workshops centered on communication and messaging.
The program also includes dedicated co-working space here at Bounce and possible investment when the time is right.
The next cohort will begin in July. If you are interested in being a part of this program, keep your eyes open for the next set of applications to open in April.
Sales and Marketing Accelerator
Bounce’s sales and marketing accelerator is for current incubator clients. The program takes companies that have carved out a small market segment and helps them formulate a growth strategy to take their business to the next level. This is achieved by pairing the participating company with a sales expert and a marketing expert. Through a coordinated effort to refine sales and marketing tactics and formulate a scalable strategy, participating companies learn how to iterate and improve upon existing processes to achieve greater success.
If you are interested in our sales and marketing accelerator, space is limited and you would first need to be a part of our incubator program. To apply for the incubator program, please fill out our intake form.
As I mentioned above, the soon-to-open first floor co-working space will provide entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses who need space and some assistance with a unique opportunity to work in an open, collaborative environment.
I love what I do and I am surrounded by some of the most passionate people you will ever meet. I especially have a lot of fun and find it inspiring to speak with entrepreneurs about their businesses, ideas, hopes and dreams.
And, much like the world of an entrepreneur, Bounce isn’t slowing down any time soon. It is always exciting to see a new face step through our doors. My inbox is always open, and I would love to speak to anyone who wants to know more about what Bounce can do for you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.