Entrepreneur Program  / Accelerator Program

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Sandbox Accelerator Program
Helping early-stage entrepreneurs accelerate their businesses and non-profits


*The deadline to apply for the 2014 Summer Accelerator (June 2014 – August 2014) is May 1st at midnight*

The Opportunity

  • Build a strong sustainable business or non-profit
  • Work with personal Mentors to help take your idea to the next level
  • Network with investors, industry experts, and successful entrepreneurs
  • Access free co-working space 24/7
  • Learn from experts in business design, fundraising, and social media
  • Compete for $30,000 in cash prizes to launch your business

The Program

Sandbox Finalists receive three months of incredible mentorship & weekly workshops, free office space, access to technical experts, and the opportunity to compete for $30,000 in cash prizes to launch your business.

The Commitment: 

  • At least founding team member uses the Space regularly
  • Attend meeting(s) with fellow Sandbox Finalists twice a week
  • Connect with Mentors on a regular basis

What We Look For

Beginning a Business? The applicant has received no more than $25K outside funding and is just in a pilot stage or working with beta customers.

Just an idea? The applicant has done significant research that demonstrates their understanding of the target market and a way to reach them.

We look for applicants that are:

  • Able to commit to fully participate in the program;
  • Passionate about their idea or business – and their actions and results reflect this;
  • Invested in the business or non-profit become self-sustaining;
  • Desire to positively impact community and society. Impact comes in many ways, including generating income for one or more employees, addressing societal problems, improving the environment, etc.

Note: We’re not interested in working with businesses up and running, with a solid set of customers and a clear direction.

Click on the pictures below to learn more about each class!

2014 Winter Accelerator Class

2013 Summer Accelerator Class

2013 Winter Accelerator Class

Click here to see our mentors!













In the past, the Sandbox Accelerator has had experts speak to our entrepreneurs including:

1.What is the Sandbox Accelerator Program?
A 12 week program that gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to move their businesses forward. During the program, there are workshops, mentors, and an opportunity to share a $30K Prize Pool.

2.When is the next program?
The next program will be from June 2014 – August 2014.

3.How are finalists chosen?
To determine the Semi-Finalists the applications are reviewed and scored by a group of successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and for-profit and non-profit executives. To determine the Finalists staff and Mentors interview each candidate providing feedback to a leadership committee that determines the final selection.

4.Who is eligible to apply?
We are looking for early-stage entrepreneurs. This means individuals who are in the idea stage or who are just beginning their business or non-profit. Preferably applicants would not have raised/earned more than $20K.

5.Do you have to be from the Merrimack Valley to participate?
No, you do not have to work/reside in the Merrimack Valley to participate.

6.Where will the Accelerator be held?
The Accelerator will be held at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, Wannalancit Mills, 175 Cabot Street, Suite 100, Lowell MA.

7.What kind of ideas are you looking for?
We accept all types of business or non-profit ideas. There are no restrictions on the sector or size of your idea.

8.Do I need a business plan?
No, a business plan is not required.

9.What kinds of finalists have participated in the past?
Click here to see a list of past participants.

10.What is the time commitment?
We expect entrepreneurs to commit at least 10 hours a week.

11.How are entrepreneurs matched with mentors?
With a combination of matches determined by the Sandbox staff and request from the entrepreneur.

12.Does my entire team need to participate?
No, but we do encourage team members to be a part of the Accelerator. In teams with multiple co-founders at least one co-founder must participate.

13.If your answers have not been answered above, please contact Lianna@MVSandbox.org

For questions please contact:
Lianna Kushi: Lianna@MVSandbox.org