Rice U. launches new small-business accelerator

Entrepreneurs

HOUSTON – (May 5, 2022) – Rice has a new resource for entrepreneurs: BlueLaunch, the Rice University accelerator for consumer product companies and other small businesses.

BlueLaunch, the latest initiative from the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, provides hands-on training and mentoring designed to support the success of Rice-affiliated small-business entrepreneurs in any industry. Companies accepted into the accelerator have access to legal, financial, sales and marketing resources as well as mentorship from an invaluable professional network.

Rice AllianceThe inaugural 12-week class, which runs May 23 through Aug. 5, features six small businesses running the gamut from beauty to organizational experts to pet supplements. These companies were selected from a competitive application and interview process. Five of the six include:

  • Flumos: maker of fire fountains handcrafted from metal and glass.
  • Paige & Demi — Organizational Experts: provider of simple, sustainable organization systems for clients and the spaces they utilize.
  • BakedBones®: “Bake Dogs Happy” with organic, hemp-based supplements.
  • Laude: offers upscale university-branded barware.
  • Ally’s Unique Thrift: thrifting concierge service for sustainable fashion lovers.

“We’re excited to announce the inaugural cohort during National Small Business Week, which celebrates the resiliency and tenacity of America’s entrepreneurs,” said Jessica Fleenor, managing director of BlueLaunch. “Building on a decade of success with the OwlSpark accelerator, BlueLaunch is an opportunity to serve the small-business entrepreneur — one not widely served by our programs in the past.

“We’re continuing our nine-year acceleration partnership with the University of Houston’s RED Labs and RED Launch Accelerators to deliver the program and bridge connections for these entrepreneurs to the Greater Houston community,” she continued.

The acceleration programs culminate in the Bayou Startup Showcase, the city-wide startup pitch event showcasing the latest startups from both Rice and UH.

Participants in the program also receive a $1,000-per-month non-dilutive stipend for three months.

BlueLaunch builds on the success of the Rice Alliance’s OwlSpark Accelerator, which has supported 73 technology-based, Rice-affiliated startups with 180 founders for 10 years that have gone on to raise more than $29 million in funding. 

For more than 20 years, the Rice Alliance has served as a hub for entrepreneurial efforts at the university. Throughout these two decades, the Rice Alliance has supported the launch of new startups from across campus through nurturing the formation of new ideas, connecting founders with mentors and investors and encouraging engineers, scientists and researchers to turn their work into commercial success.

To learn more about BlueLaunch and other Rice Alliance offerings, visit alliance.rice.edu.

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