Businesses ready for rapid, iterative development, at every level — from building the product to refining and scaling the business model.
8 – 12 companies will participate in 8 weeks of virtual content tailored to their business and stage of growth.
Participants are supported by mentors, investors, and subject matter experts as you execute the plan you develop.
The next S2V cohort will begin in September 2022. Applications are currently open!
Who should apply?
Startup Shenandoah Valley is designed for startups that can create a scalable, replicable, and sustainable business that can also create jobs in the Shenandoah Valley.
When are applications accepted?
Application are now open for Cohort 4 and will be accepted through August 2022.
What will I get out of the program?
Our program provides access to the best resources, mentors, and coaches both in and outside our region.
I only have an idea, is that ok?
Yes! This program is designed to meet founders where they are. We welcome founders with a clearly developed idea that needs further testing or validation. In contrast, this program is not right for individuals who want to start a business but don’t know what that might be.
Do I have to have sole ownership of my company to apply?
No. We require program participants to hold a majority of the company but this can be distributed among co-founders. In fact, other accelerator programs have consistently seen enterprises with more than one founder do better.
Do I need to have a registered business to join?
No, but we do expect you to launch your business before completing the program.
How long is the program?
We refer to our program as an accelerator/incubator hybrid because it combines elements of both. Companies in the program will initially participate in an eight week “sprint” phase followed by an implementation phase.
Is there a fee to participate?
No. Due to a grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the generosity of our many partners across the region, Startup Shenandoah Valley is offered free of charge and with no equity requirements.
When does the program start?
There are multiple cohorts each year. Check out the interest form for the next start date
What does the program consist of?
The program is designed to be extremely flexible and scheduled around the founders’ availability. You should expect to spend approximately three to four hours per week working directly with your assigned mentor, coaches, and other members of the cohort. Additionally, we will provide access to learning material and resource providers (like experts in accounting, legal, technical and other fields) you can take advantage of on an as-needed basis.
Who will my mentor be?
We will pair your company with a mentor with relevant experience in your business sector. If you know someone who might make a good mentor for this program, let us know!
How much funding will I get?
While enrollment in the program does not guarantee funding, we will prepare you to seek investors at the appropriate level for your company and make introductions.
Do I need a minimum viable product (MVP)?
No. However, you will be expected to take your product or service to market during the program.
Why be a mentor?
Startup Shenandoah Valley is committed to providing entrepreneurs with the resources they need to succeed. By becoming a mentor with S2V, you are helping to support job creation and economic resilience in our area and providing support to the community leaders of tomorrow.
What is the time commitment?
The Startup Shenandoah Valley Program has three (3) types of mentorship opportunities with different time commitments. Lead mentors commit about an hour a week and work in a one on one pair with a company. Functional mentors are individuals with expertise in specific professional services (such as accounting, marketing, tech support, legal, etc.) who commit 1-2 hours per month and advise our founders in their area of expertise. We are also always looking for people with valuable startup experience for interviews and meet with our founders on a short-term basis.
Will I have to mentor in-person?
Startup Shenandoah Valley is built around flexibility. The program emphasizes remote and virtual meetings but we encourage our mentors and founders to meet in whatever way is best for them.
Can mentors invest in Startup Shenandoah Valley companies?
Yes! We encourage mentors to consider investing in our portfolio companies, as long as the terms are reasonable.
What is the process of starting a mentor relationship?
Please complete our mentor signup form. One of our team members will contact you to discuss how you can support S2V. We will then work with you to schedule office hours and 1:1 meetings with participants.
Why does mentoring matter?
The largest U.S study to date on entrepreneurial mentoring found that mentoring is fundamental to entrepreneurial success but founders must be committed to the process and mentors must be highly qualified and fit well with entrepreneurs. The vast majority of entrepreneurs believe that mentorship has contributed to their ventures’ success. However, entrepreneurs benefit commensurate with their perspective and commitment to learning (i.e., growth mindset) and capacity to establish and sustain mentoring relationships including frequent interactions and meetings.