New Wichita business accelerator moving toward launch in July

Entrepreneurship incubator and e2e CEO John Dascher. (Jan. 5, 2016)
Entrepreneurship incubator and e2e CEO John Dascher. (Jan. 5, 2016) File photo

The e2e Accelerator is accelerating toward it own start-up in July.

The accelerator is a place where the founders of four to six carefully selected new companies can learn better how to grow rapidly. E2e stands for “entrepreneur to entrepreneur.”

It will be in downtown Wichita, but its organizers haven’t announced a final location. It will be privately owned and funded but will serve an explicitly community-oriented purpose.

To that end, accelerator CEO John Dascher this week announced the first public contribution, $75,000 from Fidelity Bank. The money is to be used to incubate, accelerate, mentor and invest in growth-oriented Wichita companies.

Aaron Bastian, president of Fidelity Bank, said in a statement that he hopes this commitment encourages others to contribute.

Dascher said he has, or has commitments for, about two-thirds of the $1 million goal in both cash and in-kind services.

Dascher said e2e was basically just a plan when he arrived. His job was to turn the plan into reality in six months, including developing the operating rules, finding funding, applicants, mentors and a place to work. That is moving along as planned.

“We’re migrating from strategic planning to strategic doing; this is going live,” Dascher said.

There are several other announcements having to do with the accelerator:

▪ A Mentor Lunch, June 2 at the Kansas Leadership Center, 325 E. Douglas.

Accelerator director Jacob Wayman said it has sent out more than 100 invitations. Good mentors are essential for the support and guidance of company founders as they deal with myriad business problems.

They are looking for subject experts such as accountants, attorneys, marketers, human resources professionals and business executives for more general business knowledge.

They are also looking for lead advisers, which he said were “a very niche group, who have been there, done that, like taken a company public.” These advisers may become board members or investors in the company.

▪ The accelerator is officially opening applications, although accelerator officials have been talking to entrepreneurs for months.

Applicants must have two qualifications: They must be able to grow quickly, and they must have third-party customers or a distribution agreement.

The first group will start their time in the accelerator no later than July 15 and will demonstrate their products and companies on Oct. 5 as part of the Great Plains Capital Conference, the annual gathering where companies pitch to investors.

Dan Voorhis: 316-268-6577, @danvoorhis