By Eli Okun
PBN Staff Writer
WASHINGTON – Providence-based company Betaspring was one of 16 business accelerators from around the country to deliver business pitches at the first-ever Accelerator Demo Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced last week.
The Small Business Administration and the Global Accelerator Network co-organized the event as a way to promote entrepreneurship and highlight the importance of accelerators within that system. Accelerators support start-ups with networking opportunities, mentorship and skill development to raise capital.
Demo Day, which took place at Washington-based accelerator 1776, was one piece of a broader recent effort by the government agency to foster entrepreneurship: A new $5 million Growth Accelerators program slated in the fiscal year 2014 budget will support first-time entrepreneurs by offering matching grants to private accelerators and universities to build up accelerators. The program is part of the Start-Up America Initiative.
At Demo Day, the 16 participating companies — selected from dozens of applicants — networked with government officials and community leaders and had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to potential investors like IBM, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Blackstone Foundation.
Mass Challenge, a four-month accelerator program in Massachusetts, was also one of the 16 companies participating.
“SBA is committed to supporting the efforts of our nation's innovators across the country by providing the best accelerators with the funding opportunities and platforms they need to scale their models sustainably,” Karen Mills, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement. “Our inaugural Accelerator Demo Day presents a critical opportunity to highlight the powerful work that accelerators are doing to foster tech entrepreneurs and enable more communities to become hot spots for innovation.”