SMB Innovation Program FAQs
- What is the Small Business Innovation Program?
- The Small Business Innovation Program is a first-of-its-kind “accelerator” program designed to support entrepreneurs as they solve problems for small businesses through the development of new products, features, and services.
- Startups selected for the program reside at the SMB InnoLoft space and receive resources and mentorship to build their early-stage startups.
- The SMB InnoLoft is accepting submissions through October 29 to participate in the fourth class, scheduled for February 1 through May 31.
- Two of the startups that show exceptional growth and success over the four-month period to stay with us for an additional two months, allowing them to further take advantage of Innoloft resources.
- What types of startups will participate in the program?
We look for startups or entrepreneurs that are as passionate about small businesses as we are, and those who want to solve problems for small businesses through the development of new products, features, and services.
- How do startups apply for the program?
Startups or entrepreneurs can apply at
- Applicants must create short videos that introduce the company, as well as their products or services.
- The application deadline is October 29.
- We encourage startups to follow #SMBInnoLoft on Twitter for more information and application details.
- Do you have any eligibility requirements for startups to be selected?
- Startups must create solutions that fuel small businesses success.
In addition, each startup must:
- Have a product in-market with some level of current users (we do not have a required minimum user base). This is an important requirement, given that the program provides expertise in scaling an SMB focused business, as well as access to small businesses that have opted-in to trying new offerings.
- Be able to relocate to the SMB InnoLoft in Waltham, Mass. headquarters for the duration of the four-month program.
- Do startups have to be Massachusetts-based?
- Startups that apply do not have to be Massachusetts-based. However, they must be willing to relocate to InnoLoft’s Waltham headquarters for the four-month duration of the program.
- How many startups are be selected for each class?
- We design each class to be small so that we can really focus on each of the participants in meaningful ways – we’ll likely select 3-5 entrepreneurs/startups for this class.
- Does everyone in the startup need to relocate to the Boston area for the duration of the program?
- We encourage all startups members to be on location at our Waltham headquarters. This will allow the startups to connect with mentors, advisors, and other startups. However, we do know that not everyone may be able to attend the full session due to familial, medical or other reasons. Priority will be given to those startups that can guarantee a majority of their team can participate.
- What are the selection criteria?
- The selection criteria for the fourth class are fairly broad, though the applicant must be creating value for small businesses.
- Who is on the selection committee?
The selection committee will be composed of a mix of
InnoLoft and industry technology and marketing experts.
For the fourth class, the selection committee is comprised of:
- Andy Miller, Chief Innovation Architect, Innoloft
- Alec Stern, Vice President, Strategic Innovation and SMB InnoLoft Executive in Residence
- Phil Swisher, Head of Innovation and Senior Vice President, Brown Brothers Harriman
- When will the members of the fourth class be announced?
- The fourth class for the SMB InnoLoft will be announced in January.
- When will the fourth class start at the SMB InnoLoft? How long is each session?
- The fourth class is scheduled to begin in February 2016 and end in May.
- What benefits do the startups receive if selected to participate in the program?
In addition to receiving hands-on coaching and mentorship from experts and executive team, each startup also receives
- Dedicated office and meeting space in the SMB InnoLoft.
- Access to TestDrive: a group of small businesses that have opted in to trying new offerings.
- $10,000 to spend on marketing activities, with coaching from marketing experts on how best to spend those dollars.
- Mentorship from and access to members of the Angel and Venture communities.
- The opportunity to work side-by-side with a group of early stage startups that all share a commitment to making small businesses successful.
- What role will Angel and VC investors have in the SMB InnoLoft?
- Angel and VC investors will advise, mentor, and teach participating startups.
- Angel and VC investors are also connectors, making introductions to synergistic companies and potential business development opportunities.
- We also host a day where participating startups can meet with potential investors and showcase their offerings.
- What is considered successful participation in the program?
- Success is measured differently for each participant, depending on their starting point when entering the program. One startup might consider success getting to product/market fit. Another might consider gaining an understanding of how to scale and drive conversion as their success.
- What are some examples of “products, features, or services” that a participant might create?
- The sky really is the limit. Some companies may be focused on helping small businesses leverage mobile or location-‐based marketing technologies in new ways. Others may be focused on video or social networking technologies, or perhaps Big Data applications. The possibilities are unlimited.