WA group of local investors has announced the second year of a program intended to stimulate the entrepreneurial spirit brought on by shows like “Shark Tank.” Called “Accelerate Wake Forest,” the initiative was inspired by similar programs in other towns.
Area inventors, entrepreneurs, and business owners hoping to start or expand will have an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors in front of an audience. If an idea appeals to one or more of the investors, they will offer advice and mentorship for free, or financial backing in exchange for a percentage of the business. After the event, any further details and negotiations between the investor and the entrepreneur to complete the deal will be confidential.
“Accelerate Wake Forest has brought together a great group of investors and mentors. Several who participated in 2018 are coming back, and we have new investors, too. We are all active in the community, want to encourage economic development, and see this as a way of giving back.” said David Williams, Jr., a member of the Investors Panel for the event.
Spearheaded by business owner Michael Johnson and Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce President Ann Welton, the program was developed and launched a year ago. “Gathering a number of investors with the interest and the financial wherewithal to make investments in the Wake Forest area was the first step,” Johnson said. “We have a group in place and they’re excited and ready to hear from this year’s applicants.”
The 2018 program resulted in investments ranging from $2,000 to $600,000 in a variety of businesses. Accelerate Wake Forest follows up on a Wake Forest Rotary Club-sponsored program, Launch Wake Forest, which provides training and mentorships to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The Investors will make deals at their discretion. No offer will be made to or solicited from the audience.