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Venture for America has selected Cleveland to host its national business accelerator targeting entrepreneurs that are recent college graduates, beating out competing proposals from Columbus and Cincinnati.

Through an RFP process, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus submitted proposals outlining the resources, opportunities and funding they can offer the four-month accelerator program that will attract participants from around the country to live and work in Cleveland. The program kicks off in August.

“We are so proud to have brought together the community to craft a compelling proposal that highlights the opportunities that our wonderful city presents fellows and startups of all shapes and sizes," said Ed Buchholz, StartInCLE Managing Director and co-author of the Cleveland proposa. "Cleveland will benefit from having exceptional young founders getting started here and fellow founders will help Cleveland develop deeper ties with an amazing organization. And all this will pay dividends in Northeast Ohio for years to come.”

Philadelphia and Detroit previously hosted the program.

Venture for America is a two-year fellowship program for recent college graduates who want to work at a startup. These so-called "fellows" attend a monthlong bootcamp, apply for jobs within VFA's network, and work for two years for a company in one of 14 cities. After completing the two-year stint, the young entrepreneurs can access VFA resources to support their own ventures.

“We are pleased to partner with the Northeast Ohio startup community and excited to see how we help fellow-founders succeed in Ohio.” VFA CEO Amy Nelson said. 

The Ohio Accelerator is being underwritten by a grant from the Ohio Third Frontier. Supplemental funding is being provided by The Cleveland Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and law firm Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan, and Arnoff.