New Accelerator Focuses on Veteran-Owned Tech Startups

Venture Hive and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., team up to drive economic growth


Venture Hive, a Miami-based accelerator for economic development, has announced a new national accelerator program for veteran-owned tech businesses.

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The Venture Hive Veterans Program is a partnership between the City of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Venture Hive, who are partnering in an effort to create a home base for the veteran entrepreneurship movement. Their program offers a 12-week accelerator and 12-week pre-accelerator that will connect veteran-owned business to resources and support as they work to scale their businesses. Additionally, it will offer access to business coaches and customized training while also driving the economic growth of the region.

To apply for the program, at least one founder of a company must be a U.S. military veteran, with preference being given to groups with multiple vets among their primary leadership. Additionally, the veteran-owned business must be developing Web, mobile or technology product solutions described as innovative and that address a “clear market need.” Military-spouse-owned companies are also eligible to participate in the program’s pre-accelerator.

“We are excited to partner with Venture Hive to launch this veteran business accelerator,” Fort Walton Beach Mayor Mike Anderson said in a release. “Our area is home to Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and the 7th Special Forces Group, among other specialized military-related organizations, so we have long been a center of innovation and cutting-edge ideas tied to our military. With the launch of Venture Hive we will expand that innovation to cutting-edge veteran owned businesses as well.”

Participants in the first pre-accelerator are required to attend meetings held on Saturdays and Mondays in Downtown Fort Walton Beach in the Florida Panhandle beginning July 18 and leading up to a Demo Day on Oct. 12. Meanwhile, accelerator participants will attend meetings and work on their products beginning Aug. 17 and conclude with a Demo Day on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, also in Downtown Fort Walton Beach. Companies chosen for the accelerator will receive a $25,000, which may come in handy for those who will need to relocate to the area during the stretch of the program.

Applications are now being accepted. Not a vetpreneur? You can still learn more about accelerators and how they can help startups gain funding, visibility and more during the “Need for Speed: Accelerating Your Tech Startup” panel at the BE Entrepreneurs Summit in Atlanta next month. The informative talk kicks off Thurs., May 14 at 10 a.m.

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