MassChallenge startup accelerator seeks R.I. applicants

PROVIDENCE – A global startup accelerator program has opened applications for its third year of programming in Rhode Island, according to a news release.

The MassChallenge Rhode Island accelerator will help 30 area startups through a fourth-month program of mentorships, resources, programming and partnerships, culminating in up to $100,000 in cash prizes for “top startups,” the release stated. Now in its third year, the Rhode Island program has awarded $150,000 in cash to companies ranging from a Warwick wind-energy company to one that makes and sells Ethiopian cereal.

This year, for the first time, the Rhode Island program will focus specifically on startups in the sectors of blue technology, insurance technology and consumer packaged goods. The focus follows Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s budget proposal to borrow $10 million to create a smart bay suitable for ocean technology and research. A recent economic report commissioned by R.I. Commerce Corp. also named the blue economy a top source of growth for the state.

“Our timing to bring early state, high potential blue tech companies to the region could not be more perfect,” Hope Hopkins, managing director for MassChallenge Rhode Island said in a statement.

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While this is the first year the Rhode Island program has included an industry focus, its Boston counterpart has already hosted specific programs for fintech and insurance tech, Hopkins said.

In the 10 years since it started, MassChallenge has helped more than 2,300 startups raise a collective $5 billion in funding, generate $2.7 billion in revenue and create $136,000 jobs, the release stated.

Interested startups must submit applications for the Rhode Island accelerator by March 9. More information is available at

Nancy Lavin is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Follower her on Twitter at @NancyKLavin.