Ready to Apply?

Application opens March 15th, 2024 through April 26th, 2024.

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The Accelerator Program's Journey

Operations & Financial Fundamentals

Is my business prepared to take on larger projects?

Dive into business fundamentals with a focus on financial management tools. Determine what makes contracting businesses ready to take on larger projects with more risks and returns.

Bid & Secure Larger Projects

How do I win and manage larger projects?

Hone your bidding strategies with best practices to win contracts. Discover approaches to collaborations and conflicts that inevitably arise at the worksite. Then, explore methods to keep larger projects on time and on budget.

Turn Learnings into Earnings

Where do I take my strengthened business now?

Synthesize everything learned into a high-impact elevator pitch to inspire future customers. As part of this process, participants will evaluate their current marketing approach and create a plan of action to be more visible and successful in the construction sector.

Want to Learn More?

Join us on April 10th, 2024 for an info session.

Sign Up

Program Basics

What are the benefits?

  • Six months of intensive sessions
  • Three months of post-graduation support
  • Access to mentoring to activate learning and pursue projects
  • Cohort-driven with five participants in a peer group
  • Participants get 40 hours of training and coaching
  • $2,000 service stipend for coaching and consulting services during sessions
  • $2,000 service stipend for coaching and consulting services after graduation

Who may be a good fit?

  • Located in Erie County
  • Small Businesses started before 2022
  • Annual gross revenue under $250,000
  • Average construction contract below $100,000
  • Small businesses that have experienced barriers to economic growth
  • Social and economically disadvantaged individuals
  • Individuals who have experienced systemic injustices

What is the timeline?

  • Application opens on March 15, 2024
  • Information Session on April 10, 2024
  • Application closes on April 26, 2024
  • Selected Participants Announced on May 15, 2024
  • Cohort Orientation on May 22, 2024
  • Sessions will be held from June 6th – November 13th, 2024. See session schedule below.
  • Graduation event on December 7, 2024

Program Leader

Roderick Ramsey

As a Senior Programs Manager for Bridgeway, Roderick Ramsey leads the developer and contractor training for its Building Inclusive Development (BID) program. He works closely with clients to connect them with guidance, peers, markets, capacity, space, and capital to aid their entrepreneurial journey. Roderick is no stranger to helping to build growing businesses. Before his current position, he served as a business coach and owned and founded Ocular Arcade, a digital design and marketing company. He has served in management roles across various industries, including web development, printmaking, and academia. Roderick earned a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Vincent College in 2012 and a master’s in business management from Point Park University in 2016. He is also a proud father, business owner, and visual artist.

Our Experts

La’Taunja Martin Cooper

Founder | Martila Enterprise

Martila Enterprise is a professional construction management and real estate solutions company providing clients with the best services in project initiation through project closeout. They aim to become the forefront company offering an unparalleled experience by building trust and valued client relationships.

Francine B. Cameron | CPA & MBA

President & CEO | CPSG, LLC.

Cameron Professional Services Group (CPSG) provides owners with project management, credit analysis, plan & cost review, operational review, fiscal management, and vendor management to organizations undertaking community development projects. CPSG also offers accounting services to for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Christopher Kujawa

President | PDDM Solutions, LLC

PDDM Solutions provides construction and project management services, engineering/environmental design, permitting services, and workforce professional staffing and recruiting. The PDDM Solutions Team has grown and continues to grow because of its hard work and dedication to providing the best services to its clients.

Accelerator Location

The Booker T. Washington Center

1720 Holland Street, Erie PA

The Booker T. Washington Center (BTWC) strives to support and maintain a flourishing community. They do this through services, programs, and community outreach designed to reduce the many social, economic, and educational disparities that challenge the youth and families in the Erie area. The BTWC will give the cohort a meeting location and extra support as the participating small businesses take their journeys in the program.

Learn More

Session Schedule

Is my emerging business ready for larger projects?

Part 1: Learn Session
Thursday, June 6th 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Francine Cameron

These first sessions will dive right into the business fundamentals of cohort participants, focusing on financial management tools and what makes them ready (or not) to take on larger projects with more risks and returns. Taskwork will include balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and providing a brief vision for the next steps with legal, marketing, and insurance tools.

Part 1: Review Session
Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Francine Cameron

Is my emerging business ready for larger projects?

Part 2: Learn Session 
Wednesday July 10th, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Francine Cameron

These sessions will challenge cohort participants to get honest about their back-office practices and partners. Proper systems need to be in place to meet the needs of various project stakeholders, ranging from clients to subs. Taskwork will include action plans to fill gaps in operations, which can be directly addressed through the cohorts’ supportive services.

Part 2: Review Session
Wednesday July 31st, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Francine Cameron

How do I effectively pursue larger projects?

Learn Session
Wednesday, August 7th, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Christopher Kujawa

When emerging contracting and construction businesses identify new projects they want to pursue, knowing the best practices to win the contract may not always be clear. Taskwork will include pursuing a sample project. Participants will hone their estimating, bidding, and proposing processes needed to compete for opportunities professionally and with a higher likelihood of success.

Review Session
Wednesday, August 21st, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Christopher Kujawa

How do I profitably manage larger projects?

Part 1 – Learn Session
Wednesday September 4th 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: La’Taunja Martin Cooper

Larger projects can be exciting initially, with the prospect of increased revenues. But they also bring new and complex challenges. How are you communicating with the clients and/or general contractor? How are you capitalizing on mobilization? How are you managing your subcontractors? These sessions will explore the best practices and lessons learned to ensure your largest project is not your last one.

Part 1 – Review Session
Wednesday September 18th, 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: La’Taunja Martin Cooper

How do I profitably manage larger projects?

Part 2 – Learn Session
Wednesday October 2nd 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: La’Taunja Martin Cooper

Part two of this vital section will explore methods to keep more prominent projects on time and within budget. Cohort participants will share approaches to collaborations and conflicts that inevitably arise at the worksite. Taskwork will include mitigation techniques to handle project issues and ensure that your business succeeds while meeting client needs.

Part 2 – Review Session
Wednesday October 16th 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: La’Taunja Martin Cooper

Where do I take my strengthened business from here?

Learn Session
Wednesday October 30th 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: Roderick Ramsey

This month is all about turning your learnings into earnings. Participants will synthesize everything they learned over the preceding months into a high-impact elevator pitch to inspire future customers. As part of this process, participants will evaluate their current marketing approach and create a plan of action to be more visible and thriving in the construction sector.

Review Session
Thursday November 14th 2024
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Expert Guide: TBD

Graduation

Celebration on December 7, 2024

Participants will share and celebrate their vision for success.

Post Graduation Support:

Graduates are eligible to access a $2,000 service stipend for coaching and consulting services for three months after graduation to help continue their momentum. The session experts will provide one-on-one coaching to help participants exercise new capabilities and confidence.

Ready to Apply?

Application opens March 15th, 2024 through April 26th, 2024.

Apply