FireSpring Fund, a nonprofit investment fund for high-potential technology startups in Central Florida, today announced the opening of applications for its advanced business accelerator program.

Startup companies may apply to the six-month program, dubbed the FireSpring Seed Accelerator, starting today at firespringfund.org/apply/. Applications will close May 5, 2016, and the program begins May 23, 2016. Three to six high-potential technology firms will enroll in the program’s inaugural class of startups.

FireSpring Seed Accelerator is a mentor-based program, supplementing its intensive one-on-one mentoring with programs and education to help companies grow and scale their ventures. Its expanding network of mentors includes experienced and successful tech entrepreneurs, investors and other subject matter experts.

Enrollment in the FireSpring Seed Accelerator is a prerequisite to receiving investment capital from the fund. The enrolled companies must reach strict milestones of customer and revenue growth, as well as investment commitments from outside investors. Each company will receive $25,000 upon acceptance into the accelerator and be eligible to receive up to $200,000 in additional investment.

Applicants must demonstrate a viable product, and be ready to execute on sales and growth strategies developed during the program. They must also have a base of operation in one of five Central Florida counties, Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia.

FireSpring Fund’s executive director, Donna Mackenzie, notes the uniqueness of the new advanced accelerator, “our program of investing in these high-potential startups and also providing expert guidance will do two things, help close the gap in funding for companies not yet ready for venture capital or angel investment, and contribute to the region’s economy by growing and keeping these companies in Central Florida.”

As the first-of-its-kind investment fund for early-stage growth companies in Florida that is organized as a nonprofit, FireSpring Fund will hold equity shares in its portfolio companies, growing its funding base as these companies make successful exits via acquisition, merger or public offering.

FireSpring Fund has a five-year goal of $5 million in funding. Its ultimate aim is to help stem the increasing “brain drain” and to brand the region as the center in the Southeast for innovation, helping to create a flourishing environment for entrepreneurs, technologists and the creative class.

About FireSpring Fund

FireSpring Fund was founded in 2015 with support from key local partners including University of Central Florida, Rollins College, City of Orlando, Orange County, and many other business and civic leaders. The fund is organized as a nonprofit 501(c)3 to provide seed capital to early-stage technology companies that show significant growth potential and a broad national or international reach of customers. It is led by experienced local business people and community leaders. It is housed within Canvs, the downtown Orlando coworking space. For more information, visit www.firespringfund.org, our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FireSpringFund/ or follow @FireSpringFund on Twitter.

FireSpring Fund is not affiliated with or officially connected with Firespring. The Firespring trademark remains the exclusive property of Firespring. For Firespring information, visit www.firespring.org.