From lightbulb to launch: FoundersForge accepting applications to Startup Bootcamp


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — FoundersForge is helping innovators and entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. The non-profit is now accepting applications to its Startup Bootcamp.

The Startup Bootcamp is tailored to the participant’s needs through education, mentorship and access to potential customers.

“Each startup is different,” said David Nelson, the FoundersForge director. “Each person has different needs; everybody’s at different stages. It helps just for the program to be truly customized to that.”

The nine-week program is open to anyone with an idea, invention, or early-stage startup. It begins on Nov. 9 with a four-week course.

“We’re going to have four weeks of course programming, and that’s going to be really tailored toward really setting goals, validating ideas and getting everything ready to launch or getting whatever needs they need in that early stage,” said Nelson.

Entrepreneurs will be paired with a startup coach, ideally, someone in their market, to interview customers, meet goals and more. That coach will check in with the participant in the months following the course.

Then, they will regroup in the spring.

“We’re going to meet back up and focus the last half of the class on really achieving those goals and making sure they’re moving forward and launching that startup,” said Nelson.

Nelson said they try to keep the class limited to 10 people or businesses so they can provide detailed personal support to each participant.

The Bootcamp aims to get the entrepreneurs to identify potential challenges they may face and ways to overcome those obstacles.

Katie Houston, Co-Founder of FytFeed went through the camp last year and is in the process of launching an app.

“So you have this huge vision in your head, right and all in this like a big grand dream,” said Houston. “What you learn is that that’s really not where you should start, you need to start small and test small and then build from there.”

FytFeed began as an idea during Covid to motivate people to stay active through a virtual community. Houston said before the boot camp, they were really at square zero.

“Going through the boot camp taught us how to interview customers and validate the idea,” said Houston. “Really work through that interview process to understand what it is that the people we would want to help really want a need, and how we need to step by step go through that growth process.”

Houston said she continues to receive support well after her Bootcamp ended.

“Now we’re at the point where we have our beta version of our app, and we’re actually ready, we’re going to be ready to announce that very soon,” said Houston.

For more information on the Startup Bootcamp and how to apply, click here.

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