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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about ETC and the CANNONBALL accelerator program.

What is the Emergent Technology Center (ETC)?

In 2014, Fond du Lac area business leaders and technology professionals came together to evaluate the resources available for inventors and innovators who wanted to transform their technology-centric ideas into successful businesses. Emergent Technology Center was the result of those conversations.

Today, ETC helps tech startup by offering support and mentorship to innovators with strong, technology-focused business ideas.

Emergent Technology Center partners with a variety of other business-focused organizations under the umbrella of IGNITE!

ETC’s primary initiative is the CANNONBALL business accelerator program.

Where is ETC?

ETC holds classes and events at various sites in the greater Fond du Lac area. While the center does not have a permanent home at this time, its headquarters is currently housed at the Fond du Lac County Economic Development Corporation (FCEDC), 116 N. Main St., Fond du Lac, Wis.

What is CANNONBALL?

CANNONBALL is a business accelerator program for tech startups in Wisconsin.

We chose the word “cannonball” not only because it conveys a sense of power and trajectory, but also because we expect our graduates to make an impact.

The CANNONBALL business accelerator works with motivated go-getters who crave the knowledge and step-by-step instruction for transforming their ideas into revenue-ready enterprises. CANNONBALL is a short-term, mentor-driven program that guides tech entrepreneurs from the business planning phase, through evaluation and testing, and to the point where participants are ready to pitch to investors and/or launch the product.

What is a business accelerator program?

Business accelerators, also called seed accelerators, provide guidance and mentorship to businesses that are looking to grow. Typically, a program lasts a handful of months.

What, specifically, does CANNONBALL teach? What is the structure?

CANNONBALL’s 12-week program kicks off with a personality assessment to gain an understanding of the participants and their projects. Every week includes a two-hour meetup that includes expert speakers addressing a variety of practical topics, including:

  • Lean and agile business development
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Customer development
  • Finding and funding resources (i.e., supply chain)
  • Building a network within the community
  • How to talk to customers

The program itself is customized for each class based on the types of products and what the participants need most. However, every program is built on two concepts: focus and connections. And the goal is always the same: to strengthen the entrepreneur’s path to becoming customer-ready and, ultimately, to build a sustainable business.

CANNONBALL culminates with a pitch event where participants demo their products to the public.

How do I know if I’m a good fit for CANNONBALL?

ETC seeks strong candidates for CANNONBALL, including college students on the verge of becoming entrepreneurs, inventors who don’t yet have a business but have a solid plan, already-formed startups, and existing businesses/employers ready to start a new tech venture.

If you have questions about qualifications, contact ETC at info@emergenttechnologycenter.org or fill out the online application.

What are the dates for the next session of CANNONBALL?

The next 12-week session begins in October 2016 and wraps up in December.

How do I apply for CANNONBALL?

Click here for the online application.

When are applications due?

Applications for CANNONBALL’s next session are due no later than Sept.16, 2016.

What is the time commitment for CANNONBALL?

The CANNONBALL program spans 12 weeks. While the dates and times of classes and exercises vary, participants can expect to meet with mentors and conduct customer interviews throughout the week. There is also a weekly founders’ meetup.

We understand that most participants have a full- or part-time job in addition to their project. CANNONBALL won’t take over your life, but we expect our students to work hard.

All events take place in Fond du Lac County.

What do I get out of CANNONBALL?

In addition to the incredibly applicable knowledge, strategy, and mentorship in areas of lean and agile business practices, graduates of CANNONBALL will walk away with a validated business plan and thousands of dollars in seed funding to be put toward the launch of their venture.

What does ETC get out of CANNONBALL?

Unlike some business accelerators and incubators, CANNONBALL does not reap any of the profits from graduates’ businesses. ETC won’t own a percentage of your company.

In other words, we aren’t in it for the money. We believe that if businesses succeed in the greater Fond du Lac area, then we succeed as a region. ETC strives to nurture and retain young, tech-focused entrepreneurs in the area, which in turn diversifies the local economy and improves the quality of life in our communities.

Will I still own 100 percent of my idea?

Absolutely!

Who are some of the graduates of the CANNONBALL business accelerator?

Learn about our alumni here.

Who is in charge of ETC?

ETC is managed by a board of directors. Learn more about them here.

What is IGNITE! and what is Emergent Technology Center’s relationship with that organization?

IGNITE! is a network of business success programs dedicated to providing integrated, comprehensive support for entrepreneurs and innovators in Fond du Lac County. ETC is a valued member of IGNITE! If it turns out ETC isn’t the best fit for you, IGNITE! can point you in the right direction.

Learn more about IGNITE!

How can I contact ETC?

The best way to reach us is to email info@emergenttechnologycenter.org. Or call (920) 929-2928.