While we’re accustomed to hearing about startup accelerators in Silicon Valley, or even New York, here’s one that might take you by surprise: LaunchHouse is starting its new Accelerator Program  in…wait for it…Ohio.
LaunchHouse is a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurial success and job creation through seed capital, education and innovation located in Northeast Ohio. Members get office space and resources to grow their startups. The newest addition, the Accelerator Program, will provide 10 startup teams with $25,000, as well as mentoring, networking and business tools through an intensive 12-week program.
You may wonder about the placement of such a program. Turns out, Cleveland is home to many Fortune 500 companies, as well as venture capitalists and private equity funds that will draw startups from all across the country. Sam Krichevsky, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner of LaunchHouse, explained:
“We believe in the Ohio community. We believe that Northeast Ohio can become an international center for entrepreneurship and innovation with the help and support of the local community.”
Ohio has many industries, including Tech, Healthcare and Manufacturing, but the program hopes to draw from beyond the state’s borders. It models itself on successful accelerator programs like Y Combinator and Tech Stars, which gets hundreds of applications from all over the country.
Applications are being accepted until July 1, 2012. Thirty startup teams will be selected to attend the Techie Unconference on July 18, 2012. There, the teams will pitch investors and the LaunchHouse team, and ten of the applicants will be chosen to participate in the 12-week program. These ten teams will receive $25,000.
The accelerator itself begins September 3, 2012, and participants will meet with mentors who will help them reach milestones to become more attractive to investors after the program.
- At least one member from each team is required to participate throughout the 12 weeks
- Participants must relocate to Cleveland for this period
- Teams must comprise of 2-3 founders
Preference is given to startups in the technology, Internet and mobile space. Apply for the LauchHouse Accelerator Program  here.
Why Not Ohio?
For startups located on either coast, the idea of relocating to the opposite coast for several weeks away from family can be a turnoff. But Ohio, slightly more centrally located in the country, may open up the possibility of participating in an accelerator more appealing. Krichevsky says:
“We are most excited about putting Cleveland, Ohio on the map as an innovative center for technology where entrepreneurs come from all over the world to build and grow their businesses. We believe in the region, the resources and the people that are here, and we look forward to playing a large part in the revitalization that is occurring.”
Ohio  Photo via Shutterstock