By Brianna Bailey
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Accelerate Genius offers programs to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses.
Oklahoma City entrepreneur Guy Madison hopes that his new Accelerate Genius program can step in where the now-closed Blueprint for Business accelerator left off.
Starting in April, Accelerate Genius will offer classes to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses, learning everything from marketing to how to lure investors and get into an accelerator program.
Madison has done everything in his career from run a clothing company and working in the insurance business, to launching Blueprint for Business. He hopes to use his business experience to help mentor local startups.
“I’ve started an accelerator program from scratch and ran it,” Madison said. “I know what they are looking for because I’ve done it.”
Madison plans to offer a 12-week seminar for local startups for $1,495 per startup through Accelerate Genius.
The program will offer 36 hours of intensive training on how to bootstrap a business. He also plans to offer abridged weekend business boot camps at reduced prices.
“It’s going to be geared at helping entrepreneurs who are anywhere from a year to 18 months off the ground, but also for people who just have the dream on the back of a napkin,” Madison said.
After less than a year, Blueprint for Business has shut down. Madison and US Fleet Tracking CEO Jerry Hunter founded Blueprint for Business in 2012 in hopes of fostering a new entrepreneurial culture in Oklahoma City.
Hunter, Blueprint for Business CEO and the main investor in the accelerator, decided to pull out of the program.
Although the business accelerator program was able to assist a handful of startup companies with its first program last fall, the venture proved to be too time consuming, Hunter said. There was also a lack of interest from other local investors in the accelerator, he said.
“Our hope was to bolster the entrepreneurial spirit within the Oklahoma City community and provide a place for startups to thrive,” Hunter said, “A combination of the program’s time-intensive nature and lower-than-anticipated investment community support forced us to make the difficult decision to close.”
Having only one main investor in Blueprint for Business proved to be too much of a challenge for the accelerator program to overcome, something Madison hopes to remedy with Accelerate Genius.
When an accelerator invests in a number of startups, it typically won’t see a return on its investment in the fledgling companies for three to five years — typically when a startup sells itself, Hunter said.
“A business accelerator is kind of a weird business model,” Madison said. One of the benefits of investing in a business accelerator is that investors can invest in multiple startups that have been vetted before they enter the program — thereby reducing risk, Madison said.
As part of Accelerate Genius, Madison eventually hopes to launch a business accelerator within the company.
Madison is actively seeking investors who want to help fund the Accelerate Genius accelerator program.
“Even if it turns out that the investment community in Oklahoma City isn’t ready for this, I still have something that fosters the entrepreneurial culture in Oklahoma City,” he said.