Guy Madison hopes his accelerator for startup businesses will help people boost not only the value of their company but of their character.
Blueprint for Business is accepting applicants until July 8 for its three-month program, designed to help startup technology companies get going. It will focus not only on business models and marketing but on character values such as honesty and perseverance, Madison said.
“We want them to focus on the whole package, because if you become a millionaire and your wife divorces you because you're never around, then you're a lonely millionaire,” he said.
The program will accept up to 10 companies and provide each with $18,000 to $25,000, as well as extras including Web hosting and public relations services. Participants will stay in Oklahoma City from Aug. 15 to Nov. 15, and at the end of the program, they will pitch their ideas to a room of investors.
The entrepreneurs will work in a casual, communal space that allows them to bounce ideas off each other, Madison said. To promote a culture of openness, the program will not accept any two companies with competing ideas.
“We want this to a high-energy environment,” he said.
Madison has lined up more than 25 mentors to help guide the participants through the pitfalls of launching and funding a startup business.
He will advise the group on the human part of a technology startup: staying away from 90-hour workweeks to make time for your health and family.
Madison has worked for 16 years coaching people on how to be better business owners and better people, he said.
“I felt that this is what I was called to do in the work world because I love to coach,” he said of starting the program.
Inspired by TechStars
Madison had the idea for the program in September after catching an episode of “TechStars” on Bloomberg TV. The show follows a technology startup accelerator of the same name, based in Boulder.
He spent time with the TechStars founders and watched how they ran their program.
Madison approached Jerry and Cindy Hunter, owners of U.S. Fleet Tracking, for funding. They agreed to be partners, and the business launched Feb. 1.
One of the program's mentors, Ramier Shaik, is the founder of Nowsoft LLC and TechJOYnt L3C. He said Blueprint for Business is “much-needed” in the city's technology sector, where ideas are often abundant but funding is scarce.
“The missing piece is the funding and how to launch a business and have somebody mentor them,” he said.
Shaik said he has run five businesses and made a lot of mistakes along the way. He said he's glad to be able to share his experience with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Program participants don't have to be from Oklahoma City, and they can move away as soon as the three months are up.
But Madison said he hopes the startup founders recognize Oklahoma City has a lower cost of living than the East Coast or Silicon Valley. And it's growing — just look at Bricktown, MAPS and the Oklahoma City Thunder, he said.
“Our goal? We want 'em to stay,” Madison said.
To learn more or to apply, go online to bp4b.com/