October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

NKU launches Health Innovation Accelerator; goal is to meet needs, make Commonwealth healthier

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation (IHI) has launched SoCap Accelerate, a Health Innovation Accelerator for Northern Kentucky.

The six-week program targets companies looking to solve a health problem in an innovative way who have a beta version of their product ready for testing. SoCap Accelerate will help these companies grow and scale their businesses.

Structured around the resources in Northern Kentucky and the needs of our communities, the goal is to make Kentucky a healthier Commonwealth.

“We are excited to start SoCap Accelerator here at NKU,” said Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, IHI executive director and vice president for Health Innovation. “Health innovation is critical to solve health problems that have been proven to have difficult or non-existent solutions. Looking at problems from a different angle often leads to a solution or a way to improve a current product.”

SoCap Accelerate will select up to seven companies to join the inaugural cohort this May.  Participants will be mentored on developing customers and building a product as well as marketing, legal and accounting guidance.

Applications will be available in March.

The program does not offer funding or equity, but is designed to help companies grow and consider the region as a destination.

“Northern Kentucky is a fantastic place to build a business, especially startups in the health innovation field. SoCap Accelerate will be the cornerstone of what we have to offer here- great resources, capital and strong partnerships to help companies scale,” said Rico Grant, managing director of SoCap Accelerate.

Last year, the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $731,250 i6 Challenge grant to build the Northern Kentucky Health Innovation Initiative. 

The EDA’s mission is to lead the Federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for economic growth and success in the worldwide economy. 

EDA fulfills this mission through strategic investments and partnerships that create the regional economic ecosystems required to foster globally competitive regions throughout the United States. EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program awards grants that build regional capacity to translate innovations into jobs through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs.

SoCap Accelerate is sponsored by the EDA i6 grant, along with support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Durr Foundation and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

“This is a collaborative effort to support new innovations. Healthcare is the third-largest regional industry in Northern Kentucky, and this program will support the growth we expect to see over the next decade,” said Dr. Hardcastle.


Source: NKU launches Health Innovation Accelerator; goal is to meet needs, make Commonwealth healthier | NKyTribune

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