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Accelerators & Mentor Programs

Accelerators are immersive, highly-concentrated, fixed-term programs for early-stage startups that are looking to grow quickly. Usually, they involve a public pitch day or competition for financing.

Mentor programs aim to establish connections between inexperienced startup founders and experienced mentors, where mentors provide advice to help spur development.



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. At the end of the Pre-Accelerator, there is a Keystart Pitch Competition. The winner receives a business development grant.

Brave Launch

Bradley University

Brave Launch is a seven-week intensive 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. At the end of the program, there is a Pitch Day where the participants have the opportunity to pitch to investors and the public.

Mentor Programs

SCORE Peoria

Small Business Administration

SCORE is dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. Peoria SCORE provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of the entrepreneur.

Small Business Development Center

SBA + Bradley University

The SBDC 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.

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