One of the exciting presentations at Venture Fest this year was the introduction of a new program, Accelerate HV. This initiative is the brainchild of local Angel investor and mentor, Jeff Werner, and Attorney, Shirin Movahed Rakocevic, who believe there is a need for a more comprehensive and long-term investment in Hudson Valley Main Street businesses, particularly in light of the pandemic.
As Michael Shuman addressed in his keynote speech at VentureFest, there is wide-ranging value in investing in local economic ecosystems. Recognizing both a funding gap for small businesses and a lack of easily accessible, practical support and advice, Werner and Rakocevic sought to address both issues by forming Accelerate HV, which will officially launch in the Spring of 2022.
Accelerate HV will be funded by the newly formed Hudson Valley Small Business Fund, which is currently seeking investors for this important venture. Unlike most accelerator programs which are only a few months long, Accelerate HV will be an intensive 5-year commitment with the goal of supporting local business in increasing revenues by at least 3x. As Rakocevic explained in the VentureFest presentation, the focus is on “helping entrepreneurs from set-up to expansion. We’ll address many of their business needs.”
The value-packed program will include coursework, weekend workshop intensives, one-on-one mentoring and coaching, and will be custom-tailored for each business to receive the tools neces-sary to grow and succeed. There will be a significant focus on the financial modeling and management of the business, which Werner describes as the “hub” of the program, “so that everything discussed, and every decision made can be tracked through the model.” Notably, at the end of the program there will be a “Deal Day” where the businesses will have the opportunity to pitch to the Fund and other financial institutions for loans and investments.
Accelerate HV will work in partnership with a host organization, who will be vetting businesses as part of the cohorts. For the first cohort, Accelerate HV is in communication with Hudson Valley Women in Business, so initially the focus will be on local women-run businesses.
For more information, please see https://acceleratehv.net/