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WTIA International Accelerator Program Transcends Borders to Support Global Growth for Startups

In business, there’s no such thing as a local market anymore. To be relevant and competitive, tech companies must be prepared to serve a global marketplace. 

That is the premise behind the Washington Industry Technology Association (WTIA) International Accelerator Program. The idea of the program is to foster collaboration with technology startups in other countries to help them prepare to expand their presence in the United States, validate potential market opportunities, and build a strong network to help them increase the speed and efficiency of building a U.S.-based business. 

Similar to the Founder Cohort Program, which assists a group of tech companies to grow and scale over the course of six months, the International Accelerator provides early-stage tech entrepreneurs from other countries with the knowledge and tools necessary to expand beyond their native borders and thrive in the U.S. To date, WTIA has successfully collaborated with startups in South Korea and Canada via the International Accelerator Program to bring their products and services to the U.S. — particularly Washington state, to help strengthen its position as a global epicenter for tech. Currently, we’re in talks to expand the program even further by partnering with additional countries.

Founders who participate in the International Accelerator Program benefit from peer networking opportunities with more than 1,100 WTIA member companies, as well as access to experts in accounting, legal matters, customer development, go-to-market strategies and more. The International Accelerator helps reduce the time for seed-stage startups to achieve critical funding, product launch, and revenue growth.

Where Collaboration Intersects with Innovation

The International Accelerator Program is a wellspring of opportunities for collaboration and expansion on a global scale. As such, it helps to increase the speed of innovation across the tech industry as a whole. “Since the world is so connected, we can collaborate with other countries more effectively,” said Nick Ellingson, Director of Products, WTIA. “In this way, we are able to leverage the International Accelerator Program to further broaden the perspectives, network, and marketability of tech companies internationally.”

Participating startups report that gaining access to real-world expertise and mentorships as part of the International Accelerator Program has been a game-changer for their companies. Take, for example, this anecdote from a participant in the Technology Revolution Together (TRT) program, which is the International Accelerator Program WTIA runs in collaboration with the Korean Innovation Center: “Participating in the TRT Accelerator program has been one of the most important turning points for our business,” noted Hyeyon Kwon, Co-Founder of Sentience, a startup focused on innovation in the behavioral economics-based artificial intelligence space. “In particular, the 1:1 mentoring program was very helpful to receive feedback from experts, share ideas, grow networks, and clarify our vision.”

“WTIA is fully committed to building a strong, sustainable technology sector in a thriving community. Serving Washigton state well requires that we partner globally,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO at WTIA. “While the current immigration environment constrains us to helping companies launch products in the U.S., the Biden Administration just re-launched the International Entrepreneur Rule, which means we have the opportunity to help immigrants launch their companies in our country. This new visa program will help create jobs and grow our economy.”

Want to learn more about the International Accelerator Program and how you can get involved? Contact Koki Sato, membership coordinator, at ksato@washingtontechnology.org.

Author

  • Nick Ellingson started his career in software sales on the Eastside before joining the WTIA team. Now he finds new members for the WTIA community, listening to feedback about events and resources, and finding fun and creative ways to get more people involved with WTIA. In his personal time, he can be found playing video games, playing basketball, reading, writing, or spending time with friends. If the Chicago Bulls are playing, he's watching.

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