Accelerator programs are designed to get new businesses, specifically startups, up and running. They provide mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs. They serve as meeting places for the innovation community, with many events and opportunities to promote their businesses. Lastly, they are an important source of funding, providing startup capital to new entrepreneurs.
The HI Growth Initiative directly supports four of the six accelerators that operate in Hawaii, each with a different industry focus.
Blue Startups, a software and technology accelerator launched in 2013, received more than 500 applications and accepted and graduated 15 companies in its first year. By the next year, these companies continued to raise over $4 million of follow-on private investment. In 2015, Blue Startups was rated No. 17 in the country by TechCrunch.
GVS Transmedia Accelerator, founded in Kona in 2014, received 200 applicants in two years for a total of 12 slots. For three years in a row, GVS has been named one of the top 50 most innovative accelerators in the country by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Energy Excelerator, recognized as one of the nation’s top clean technology accelerators, receives 300 applications for less than 15 spots every year.
Maui Food X-celerator, a new program started in early 2016, focuses on value-added agriculture businesses and received nearly 50 applications for just 24 slots.
In addition, Hawaii has a university accelerator program, XLR8UH, and a social impact accelerator, Hawaii Investment Ready. All are available to entrepreneurs interested in launching their businesses in Hawaii.