New program aims to accelerate innovation in SW Washington

"Business startups in Southwest Washington now have the power of a business accelerator within reach. The Bridge, a Vancouver-based brand incubator focused on building startups in Southwest Washington, is in the midst of its first seven-week accelerator program, which aims to help startup founders develop a successful go-to-market strategy.

“This really is the first here,” said Dave Barcos, co-founder of The Bridge. “I recently talked to Mistie Josephson and Jane Cote in the Business Department at WSU Vancouver, and they said there’s not a week that goes by where there’re not asked if they have an accelerator program. They have to turn people away. So this is really timely and will hopefully become a big thing for us.”

Startups involved in the current program include Curtis Townshend’s curated children’s clothing company, My Lil Bambino; Chris Maier’s GrowlerFresh; Michael Pan’s PanCo Foods; Adam Wehage’s Soulfinder; and Janus Innovations’ Glitch.

The accelerator program focuses on helping these startups define who they are and find their value.

“We work on what you’ll do the day after the accelerator,” Barcos explained.

The program also brings participants into a place where they can learn from mentors in a variety of industries. A few of the mentors currently involved in the program are David Jackson, Time and Oak; George DeCarlo, Woobox; Genevieve Lemarchal, Sadie; Bill Huseby, Sigma Design; Max Ault, Columbia River Economic Development Council; Paige Hendrix Buckner, ClientJoy; Cathey Armillas, Pura Marketing; and Colton Telford, Barcos’ partner at The Bridge..."