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Conquer Accelerator Launches Startup Accelerator in Grand Rapids

Michigan-based program adds second location supporting industries like medical health technology and applied manufacturing

Conquer Accelerator announces its program launch in Grand Rapids, MI. The 10-week accelerator plans on running the program in its newest location this year starting September 14th.

“We started the program in 2016 with just a handful of Michigan State University students, but over the last five years it became apparent our program was valuable to all types of entrepreneurs, not just our direct network,” said Thomas Stewart Conquer Accelerator Program Manager. “Given MSU’s ties to the area, Grand Rapids is a natural fit for our first expansion of the program.”   

Conquer Accelerator began in 2016 as a collaborative effort made possible through partnerships with parent organization Michigan State University Foundation and its subsidiaries Spartan Innovations, Red Cedar Ventures, and University Corporate Research Park (UCRP). Originated in East Lansing, the accelerator program supports rising startups by providing $20,000 in funding, access to 40+ mentors, access to follow-on funding, and other essential resources.  With collaboration between the Grand Rapids SmartZone Local Development Finance Authority (Grand Rapids LDFA) and the Conquer Accelerator team, the program aims to expand community outreach and support startups in the area.

“We are pleased to partner with the MSU Foundation and its subsidiaries to bring Conquer Accelerator to Grand Rapids,” said Jeremiah Gracia, Economic Development Director at the City of Grand Rapids and staff liaison to the Grand Rapids LDFA. “This program aligns with the SmartZone’s development plan objectives to support high-tech startups through incubation and accelerator programs. Bringing a program with a proven record of success along with early stage funding is a great opportunity for our community.”

Conquer Accelerator provides high-tech startups in the city of Grand Rapids with intensive programming, focusing on completing tailored, goal-driven benchmarks all while working with mentors on topics like fundraising, technology, longevity.

“Grand Rapids has a strong manufacturing backbone yet has a wide diversity of industries from healthcare and furniture to craft beers and automotive glass,” said Frank Urban Conquer Accelerator Director. “This has made the area a hub for creative ideas and entrepreneurs willing to take the risk of launching new companies.  We are excited that the Conquer Accelerator program can help these entrepreneurs realize their dreams, stimulate the local economy, and create high-tech jobs.”

Conquer Accelerator’s fifth East Lansing cohort started virtually on June 1st. Applications for the first-ever Conquer Accelerator Grand Rapids are now open until July 20th. The program runs September 14th – November 20th. Head to for more information on the application process and program requirements.

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