gener8tor and ECMC Group’s Inaugural OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Accelerator Cohort Addresses Learning & Labor Challenges with Creative, Tech-first Solutions
Each Startup in the Accelerator Will Receive a $100K Cash Investment, Three-month Coaching Program & Other Resources
June 17, 2021 — MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA — gener8tor, a concierge startup accelerator program, and ECMC Group, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization with a mission to help students succeed, have selected five startups to participate in the inaugural OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Accelerator. The 2021 cohort includes BeeReaders, ChalkTalk, Paragon One, SimiDigi and SkillCat.
“We’ve seen a robust influx of new startups and leaders in education and workforce industries that have introduced solutions to make resources more accessible, streamlined, tech-enabled, and cost-effective,” said Eddie Olson, Managing Director of the OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Accelerator at gener8tor. “Our new cohort showcases a class of visionary founders who have leveraged their industry knowledge and built customized technology to help tool and match trade companies with skilled workers, offer customized curriculums to aid busy teachers, empower a new generation of Spanish-speaking students and improve employment accessibility, among other impressive tools.”
gener8tor’s “OnRamp” model is designed to efficiently connect startups, corporations and capital. The OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation program was developed as a partnership of gener8tor and ECMC Group’s Education Impact Fund to seed innovation that promotes accessibility and positive student and worker outcomes.
Leveraging this approach, each of the five startups will participate in a three-month, concierge accelerator program in addition to receiving a $100,000 cash investment, $1M+ in deals and perks from vendors like AWS, Rackspace, Microsoft, PayPal, Zendesk and HubSpot, support from the gener8tor team and network of alumni and mentors, as well as individualized coaching and mentorship from ECMC Group.
“To address the many structural issues and long-standing inequities in our society, we must think differently about how we approach and deliver an education and training ecosystem that meets the needs of all constituents,” said Josh Slayton, senior vice president of corporate development and impact investing for ECMC Group. “At the forefront of this are the many innovative founders and companies developing solutions that positively impact students, workers, companies and our communities. We view OnRamp as a critical forum for connecting edtech and workforce startups to funding during a time when many similar venues have disappeared.”
The 2021 cohort selected for the inaugural OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Accelerator includes:
- BeeReaders (Austin, TX) – With a mission to redefine the academic possibilities for Spanish-speaking students, BeeReaders creates a digital experience that strengthens reading comprehension skills to motivate and encourage a new generation of students.
- ChalkTalk (New York, NY) – An e-learning platform that leverages machine-learning software to generate state standards-aligned ACT and SAT curriculum adapted for each teacher, and personalized for every student.
- Paragon One (New York, NY) – Bridging the divide between education and workforce, Paragon One provides fully-managed, educational, and remote externships that boost student employability and enterprise diversity.
- SimiDigi (Dallas, TX) – A full-service workforce training and development company designed to cut costs for industrial organizations and train their mobile workforce through the use of 3D and Virtual Reality technology.
- SkillCa t (Houston, TX) – Addressing the challenge of non-college educated workers not having access to middle class jobs, SkillCat leverages a virtual simulator to train and place workers into high demand skilled trade jobs in HVAC, telecom, and energy.
The cohort was announced at the second annual OnRamp Education & Workforce Innovation Conference on June 17, an event that brings together the education and workforce industries’ leading corporations, investors and startups to highlight new technologies and leaders. Notably, the conference’s Startup Track offers curated, one-on-one pitch sessions between selected startups and renowned corporations, foundations, and investors to discuss potential customer relationships, strategic partnerships and, if appropriate, investment opportunities. More than 500 one-on-one meetings will be facilitated today at this year’s conference.
In addition to ECMC Group’s Education Impact Fund, executives and investors from AWS EdStart, Kaplan, AT&T Aspire, LinkedIn, Pearson, Chloe Capital, Reach Capital, and Edovate Capital will participate in the event and attendees will explore topics about the use of tech in apprenticeship, gaming as the key to modern workforce learning, the K-12 federal funds landscape, and more.
gener8tor’s turnkey platform for the creative economy connects startup founders, musicians, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships. gener8tor is a nationally ranked, GOLD-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. For more information, visit https://www.gener8tor.com/.
About ECMC Group
ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation focused on helping students succeed by creating, providing and investing in innovative educational opportunities. Headquartered in Minneapolis, ECMC Group and its family of companies are focused on advancing educational opportunities through financial tools and services; nonprofit career education and workforce training; and innovative, impactful and mission-aligned funding for programs to help students achieve their academic and professional goals and to address the future of work. To learn more, visit www.ecmcgroup.org.