UGA Idea Accelerator’s 8th Cohort Launches February 5th

Staff Report From Athens CEO

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

On Monday, February 5th, the 8th cohort of the UGA Idea Accelerator will kick off with the next 8 week program focused on helping startups and small businesses develop their idea’s business viability. Over the course of 8 weeks, teams will go through the customer discovery process, learn how to create a financial model for their idea, and practice pitching to investors that will culminate in a Demo Day on April 9th judged by a panel of local entrepreneurs and investors. The Spring Demo Day will kick off the 3rd Athens Startup Week, and the winner will take home a $5000 prize, awarded by the UGA Entrepreneurship Program. “The Idea Accelerator is the perfect vehicle for anyone looking to see if their idea could turn into a successful business”, said Jordan Burke, Executive Director of Four Athens. “Going through the process of testing your business idea within the framework of the program, especially with the peers and mentors involved, is invaluable.”

Last September, the seventh cohort of the Idea Accelerator started with 66 original teams, the largest initial group yet. Over the course of the 8-week curriculum, designed by Advanced Technology Development Center incubator, the initial 66 was whittled down to the final 11 teams based on key startup success areas such as Customer Discovery, Financial Literacy, and Investor Readiness. In the final pitch competition, a panel of four judges assessed each idea’s business viability: the problem being solved, whether the solution actually solves the problem, and how suited the team members are to the task. To date, the Idea Accelerator has worked with 215 teams to test the business viability of their ideas.
The Idea Accelerator is operated by local economic development nonprofit Four Athens in partnership with the ATDC, the UGA Entrepreneurship Program, and the Athens Clarke County Economic Development Department. Representatives of these sponsoring organizations serve as subject matter experts, mentors, and guides for the participating teams throughout the program.
Applications to join the Spring 2018 cohort are now open at Since its first round three years ago, the Idea Accelerator has awarded $35,000 to seven winning business teams, including the winners of the Fall 2017 competition, UZO, a startup from founders Andy Okala and Tim Akinnirayne. Other previous winners include Nedza’s Waffles, and the first cohort winner, Athens-based adventure sharing platform Vestigo.