Inaugural Technology Business Accelerator Commences

The winner of Gannon University's Technology Business Accelerator business pitch event went home with a $10,000 check, along with six months of residency, coaching and strategic mentoring from the Erie Technology Incubator on Oct. 30.

Jack Barton, the winning entrepreneur, is the first recipient of this award and prize through the Integrated Business Transformation (IBT) program's inaugural Technology Business Accelerator. Barton, who owns the Roast Assured @ Out of the Grey Coffee House Cafe in Fairview, Pa., received the grant after successfully delivering his pitch to a panel of five judges, explaining how he plans to develop online software that will enable customers to create unique, personalized coffee and tea blends.

"Gannon’s Accelerator was truly transformational, and it challenged me to create a technology business that will expand my customer base nationally."

Jeff Parnell, executive director of the Erie Technology Incubator and IBT program coordinator, said, "Jack's five-minute pitch accentuated his vision to create a software solution that combines his coffee market expertise with strategic 'mass customization' thinking. His new business will leverage technology and enable coffee connoisseurs to efficiently create their own customized blends. His passion to create a differentiated business model really resonated with the judges."

The Accelerator integrates resources from Gannon's College of Engineering and Business, Small Business Development Center and Erie Technology Incubator. It was created to give participating entrepreneurs an opportunity to test a new concept, idea or line of business through the support of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Discovered in PA, Developed in PA (D2PA) program, which was established in 2011 to build capacity to support Pennsylvania businesses and to spur creativity and innovation in the provision of economic development services.

Barton reflected on his experience to say, “Gannon’s Accelerator was truly transformational, and it challenged me to create a technology business that will expand my customer base nationally. I’m already working closely with the Erie Technology Incubator and SBDC to test several marketing concepts during the Christmas season!”