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Startup GP’s Keystart Pre-Accelerator is for first-time entrepreneurs who are ready to get started on their entrepreneurial journey.

The Stakes

Starting a sustainable business is surely one of this universe’s ultimate challenges. Keystart participants will get a crash course in how to start a startup. Then, those participants who choose to, will compete in a live pitch competition for one $10,000 grant to test some of their business model assumptions.

We accept 3-5 participants, where participant is defined as either an individual entrepreneur or a founder team.


Y Combinator – the accelerator that launched Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit, and over 700 other tech startups – believes that 30% of entrepreneurship can be taught. The other 70% must be learned by doing it. The Keystart Pre-Accelerator will scratch the surface of both the teaching and the doing.

The curriculum (or teaching) portion of Keystart will consist of five modules*:

  1. Business Model Canvas
  2. Product-Market Fit
  3. Selling to First Customers
  4. Startup Finance
  5. Pitching

*Module topics are subject to change


Each curriculum module will be delivered by a mentor who has been purposefully selected to lead activities on that particular topic.


TBD – we’re working on securing more grant money, while tweaking the learning modules to be more scalable. Sign up for the Weekly Ping to find out when we will accept applications for another Keystart.

Application Process

Check your availability. We want committed entrepreneurs. Each curriculum module attended equals one minute of pitch time at the live pitch competition.

Check your funds. It is free to apply to Keystart, but there will be a $200 cost to participate in the curriculum. Borrow it from your friends if you have to.

Bring your own laptop. Don’t have one? Get one. Chromebooks start at $150.

Tell your followers you applied to Keystart. Then, when they ask what Keystart is, you can invite them to the live pitch competition. Also, shame them for not knowing about the cool stuff happening in Greater Peoria.

We are not currently accepting applications

Sign up for the Weekly Ping if you would like updates about the next Keystart.

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