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The Venture Creation Accelerator (VCA) is the Center for Entrepreneurship’s new summer launch pad for student start-ups at James Madison University. The VCA develops businesses at all stages, from newly-discovered dreams to money-making productions. Of nineteen teams who applied for our first cohort this summer, the VCA accepted seven student ventures who will embark on eight intensive weeks of business development. This summer, student fellows received funding, work space, mentorship, business classes, learning experiences, and a final pitch opportunity:


Accepted teams receive funding for their business in the form of living stipends and a grant. This money allows students purchase necessary materials for business growth.

Work Space

Teams received collaborative work space in the Ice House in downtown Harrisonburg. This location situated the teams in the heart of the Center for Small Business Development downtown, giving them key access to local resources. The space gives students the office space they need to make productive progress on their businesses and collaborate with other entrepreneurs to maximize innovative success.


The VCA provides mentors with relevant field experiences to each of the student ventures. Mentors will partner with students to assist in the development and growth of their businesses.

Business Classes

This program provides a tailored entrepreneurship curriculum to give entrepreneurs a distinct business advantage. Students learned about equity, cash flow, and other important concepts necessary to develop their businesses.

Learning Experiences

Students took field trips to practice pitching their ventures alongside student ventures from Georgetown and other prestigious universities. In one of these trips, students swept the Georgetown Incubator in the Inaugural Bulldog Cup pitch-off. Students used these opportunities to prepare and receive feedback on their business model, plans, and pitch presentation.

Final Pitch

As the culmination of the summer program, participants will pitch their businesses to investors, experts, and business people to receive feedback and the potential for additional funding on 9/21/18.

The VCA’s blend of collaboration, student growth, and unique opportunities prepares student fellows to emerge as knowledgeable and experienced businesspeople. To learn more about the program or to apply for next summer, contact Director Patrick McQuown at

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