WDCEP Launches AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service

Connects emerging entrepreneurs with a team of mentors to provide services beyond the reach of the typical start-up

Download Press Release | View Launch Event Photos

Washington, DC July 9, 2013 – Today, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) will be joined by leaders from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service and local universities to launch AccelerateDC Venture Mentoring Service (AccelerateDC VMS). AccelerateDC VMS is an initiative of the WDCEP, formed to support innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout Washington, DC by connecting emerging entrepreneurs with a team of experienced mentors.

Washington’s rapidly expanding tech community includes close to 2,000 start-ups. Many of these ventures were founded by an entrepreneur with a great idea but with limited if any business experience. “If young companies have the resources they need to grow and succeed, they will help the District to be truly competitive and build a 21st Century economy,” said Keith Sellars, President & CEO, WDCEP. “Mentoring has proven to be very powerful in influencing the course and success of startups, and this program will pair young innovators with experienced professionals with who can help them navigate business decisions, stay motivated, and even connect to clients and resources, including capital.”

Building on the highly successful model of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, AccelerateDC VMS uses a team-based approach to mentoring where entrepreneurs are paired with a team of 4-5 experienced volunteer mentors who offer a wealth of knowledge, entrepreneurial business experience, and extensive networks to young entrepreneurs.

“Over the past 13 years, more than 1,200 ventures have gone through MIT’s venture mentoring program,” said Jerome Smith, Co-Director of MIT VMS. “In the process, we’ve really honed in on best practices, learning every venture is unique in its status, needs trajectory, and priorities. We are pleased to be working with organizations like WDCEP, which bring its own expertise, and can create a customized program suited to the needs of entrepreneurs in the Washington, DC area.”

AccelerateDC will draw heavily on WDCEP’s network of recognized leaders in entrepreneurship, technology innovation, law, marketing, and finance. The WDCEP already has identified many mentors who are prepared, even eager to commit their time and emotional and intellectual help to bolster the young innovators to success. WDCEP will begin accepting applications from ventures on September 1st, 2013.


Media Briefing
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 10:30 am – 12:00 noon
WDCEP Offices located at 1495 F St, NW, Washington, DC


  • Keith Sellars, President & CEO, WDCEP will provide welcome remarks and overview of WDCEP
  • Tiffany Thacker, Director of Business Attraction will provide an overview of AccelerateDC VMS
  • Jerome Smith, Co-Director of MIT Venture Mentor Service, and Paul Olean, MIT Mentor, will provide an overview of the MIT VMS, its history, purpose, approach, the programs impact on the start-up community and successes.

Launch Party
Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 6:00pm-8:00pm
1776 Campus (1133 15th Street, NW, 12th Floor)

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