“Birmingham’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has been picking up momentum,” Haley Medved Kendrick says. “Our community can become one of the Southeast’s leaders in encouraging and supporting innovation- and tech-related growth and attracting and retaining top entrepreneurial talent.”
Kendrick started work as Director of the Bronze Valley Accelerator on August 25. She comes to the Accelerator from three years as Program Director at Innovate Birmingham, the local tech training program housed at Innovation Depot.
Launched in July, the Bronze Valley Accelerator is a partnership between Bronze Valley and nationally-ranked startup accelerator gener8tor. A free version, seven-week of the gener8tor program for early-stage companies, the Bronze Valley Accelerator will provide individualized mentorship and coaching for up to five companies per session, requiring no fees and no equity. The Accelerator is supported by Alabama Power and the Alabama Department of Commerce.
In keeping with the mission of Bronze Valley, the Accelerator is primarily focused on supporting women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. As those companies flourish, their success becomes Birmingham’s calling card as an up-and-coming player in technology and innovation.
“Diversity is one of Birmingham’s greatest strengths,” declares Kendrick. “Our opportunity lies in how successful we are at leveraging that.
“Look at the numbers,” Kendrick adds. “Companies with diverse founders tend to outperform their competitors and return more to investors. By investing in the success of underrepresented entrepreneurs, the Bronze Valley Accelerator is also making Birmingham, and the region as a whole, more competitive economically.”
Participants in the Bronze Valley Accelerator will receive intensive coaching, along with access to gener8tor’s national network of mentors, potential customers, corporate partners and investors. The program is designed to help startups gain early customer traction with products and ideas and establish metrics that make them competitive applicants for full-time accelerators or seed investment. Participants will be selected from Birmingham and throughout the Southeast, and the program will work with companies across all industries and business models.
“As an entrepreneur, you’re focused on your company’s growth,” says Kendrick. “Our role is to come alongside you and provide the kind of support you need to make that growth happen.”
gener8tor’s turnkey platform for the creative economy connects startup founders, musicians, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships. The Bronze Valley Accelerator follows gener8tor’s gBETA program model, which is free to early-stage companies with local roots.
Bronze Valley is a non-profit, early stage venture investment platform that supports high growth, innovation and technology-enabled companies created by diverse, underrepresented and underestimated founders. The mission of Bronze Valley is to provide an education-to-opportunity-to outcome pipeline for communities that are underrepresented in technology careers and in fields where innovators will shape the future.
“We look forward to working with Haley,” says Bronze Valley President and CEO Neill S. Wright. “Her knowledge, background and enthusiasm are a tremendous addition to our efforts. Certainly, the Accelerator enhances the ability to provide critical support for the kind of growth Bronze Valley is here to encourage.”
For more information, visit www.bronzevalleyaccelerator.com.