The hardest part of owning a startup is always the beginning: the process of turning your idea into a company with a working business model and appropriate funding. Luckily, there is a multitude of accelerator programs in the South available to entrepreneurs who want to launch their startups quickly.
When you think of Memphis, Tennessee, what comes to mind? Elvis? Beale Street? Those adorable marching ducks?
At what point do you consider its competency in distribution and logistics?
Memphis, often referred to as America’s Distribution Center, is home to FedEx’s World Headquarters and more than 400 trucking companies. Its location provides easy access to five class-one railroads, two major highways and the Mississippi River.
With its dense population of distribution services and logistics workers, Memphis is the ideal place to launch new logistics innovations. And in an attempt to bring those innovations to the market, EPIcenter—an initiative that connects entrepreneurs to accelerator programs, incubators, mentors and networking programs within the city—has launched an accelerator program for startups in that field.
The program, called the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator, is sponsored by FedEx and is open to startups investigating transportation- or logistics-oriented solutions. This includes payment systems, robotics, smart packaging and fleet efficiency, to name a few.
The accelerator will accept six startups through a competitive application process. Those six companies will receive $50,000 in initial seed capital. In addition, admitted startups will have the opportunity to work through a rigorous business-building curriculum, connect with knowledgeable mentors in their field and pitch their products on the program’s public Demo Day. They will even have access to EPIcenter’s post-acceleration programs after graduation.
EPIcenter, along with several organizations in the Memphis community, says it hopes to create a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem to service the Mid-South region. Their goal is to create 500 companies and 1,000 entrepreneurs by 2024, and the EPIcenter Logistics Innovation Accelerator is just one step in the process.
The deadline to apply is March 18, with a projected start date of May 2. The program lasts 15 weeks.