Here at TechCo, we've done plenty of lists rounding up the most impressive incubators, accelerators, and coworking spaces in plenty of major cities and across a variety of sectors, from the best healthcare accelerators to a collection of the top women-only coworking spaces.
But in the process of pulling together those articles on the biggest cities, we uncovered some hidden gems and businesses within the ecosystem. Here, for the first time, I've collected a round-up of the most interesting incubators and accelerators from areas of the country you're less likely to have heard about in tech circles.
The Land O'Lakes Dairy Accelerator
Minnesota food and agriculture brand Land O'Lakes — yes, the one you know from butter packages — launched an accelerator in July 2017. Composed of a three-month boot camp , the program aims to help startups build their brand while figuring out the nitty gritty of finance, manufacture, distribution and sales. The goal: Dairy innovation.
After the camp concludes, participating dairy startups will receive a $25,000 stipend and a pitch session with the Land O'Lakes executive team. But your company is only eligible for the boot camp if it's generating a minimum of $200,000 in annual revenue with a primary focus on dairy.
Social Impact Incubator
Salt Lake City, Utah's Westminster College debuted it's Social Impact Incubator on August 30 of this year. The aim, according to the private college's press release, is to provide “mentoring, advising and access to resources for up to 15 student- and community-run companies with a philanthropic twist.”
The incubator had two clients at launch, and plans to offer its services to clients for a length of five years.
An Untitled Milwaukee Film Business Incubator
Downtown Milwaukee will be home to a new accelerator for the film business. While it could include a film school once completed, little has been released about it. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Oscar-winning filmmaker John Ridley confirmed their plans in a recent joint statement to the Journal Sentinel, but haven't explained much else about the incubator, which could help along the (relatively) under-explored film startup niche if completed.
Granted, Brooklyn isn't exactly a forgotten county in America's heartland, but Foodworks, a combination coworking space and food brand incubator, is an interestingly offbeat business. 125 entrepreneurs in the food or drink business rely on the incubator's food entrepreneur knowledge base to steer them in the right direction.
“Foodworks members pay hourly or via a monthly membership that ranges from $30 an hour up to $2,000 a month depending on needs, such as food storage shelves. Monthly members get 24/7 access to [a 10,000-square foot office],” Fast Company reported in a profile.
Foodworks is expanding into Portland, Maine, and Providence, Rhode Island.
The Santa Clarita Business Incubator
The city of Santa Clarita, the College of the Canyons, and the Santa Clarita Small Business Development Center formed the Business Incubator together in order to promote innovation in the city. Four new companies have been created through the incubator, which offers training, mentorship and guidance in addition to individual and shared workspaces: Nuhubit Software Studios LLC, 3D-SensIR. Inc., Outlyer Technologies, and Your Village.
The California Spirits Company
This San Diego-based distillery incubator provides space to 10 entrepreneurial spirit makers, helping the craft distillers swap talent and resources as they working towards building successful distilleries. Founder and owner Casey Miles aims to open more incubators across the country.
Located in the basement of 94-year-old former department store in downtown Port Huron, Michigan, The Underground is the local business incubator: Entrepreneurs from around the county can apply to be considered at the incubator, which offers “technical or capital support, office space or one-off conference room rentals,” according to one article, though micro-offices at the location rent for $250 per month.
The Travel Experience Incubator
Incubator and startup networking company 1776, in partnership with Accenture Interactive and Marriott International, launched the Travel Experience Incubator in order to disrupt the travel industry. Or at least to encourage their clients to do so, via their three-month program complete with a shot at paid piloting and investment. Applicants must be a for-profit business in the travel industry with two or more full-time employees. More information is available through a FAQ on 1776's site.