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Accelerator entrepreneurial teams announced

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Emerson President Lee Pelton with Accelerator Program mentors: Lauren Landry '11, Bret Clemons, P '16, Trish Fontanilla '05, Jon Allen '14, and Liz Cormack '13. (Photo by Tripp Clemens '13)

Emerson College has announced the three student teams selected for its Emerson Accelerator Program—officially marking the kick-off of the College’s newly formed extracurricular program for entrepreneurial students to launch businesses.

Open to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing any field of study, the Emerson Accelerator Program, which was announced in March 2014, received 18 student team submissions with a variety of business concepts for consideration. Each team provided written proposals and short videos, which were reviewed by the Program’s Executive Board members who are Emerson alumni and industry leaders.

To help develop their businesses, funding is divided among the teams each semester based on their plans and needs; mentors are available to give expert advice; and teams are provided with membership at WeWork—a professional work space for innovators located close to campus, in Boston’s Leather District, which students participating in the Accelerator Program toured last week with mentors and Emerson President Lee Pelton.

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Emerson's Accelerator students arrive at WeWork in Boston last week. (Photo by Tripp Clemens '13)

Graduate students Amy DePaola, MFA ’15, and McKenna Stephens, MFA ’15, are each pursuing a master of fine arts degree in Media Art/Film Digital Distribution. Their digital platform business InterMEDIAry—an access-only digital incubator for television pilots—could change the way TV shows are developed.

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Zac DelVecchio, a Berklee College of Music student, with Maya Rafie '17, who have conceptualized JMZ Music Consulting. (Photo by Tripp Clemens '13)

Maya Rafie ’17, a Marketing Communication student, and Berklee College of Music team member Zac DelVecchio, a sophomore in marketing and finance, successfully presented their concept for JMZ Music Consulting, which will offer artists monthly contracts with the benefits of access to custom-designed consulting and services, from marketing to music production, while still maintaining their independence.

Tiffany Roca ’15 and Michelangelo Aragon ’15, are majoring in Marketing Communication.  Their business, a 3-D printing food company, produces organic treats for healthy-food enthusiasts in the Greater Boston Area. Boston Organic Goods is also a socially responsible, non-profit organization designed to help hydroponic farmers cultivate their own organically sustainable products. 

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Tiffany Roca '15 discusses her innovative business idea involving organic foods and 3-D printing at WeWork. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

“Entrepreneurship is thriving in arts and communication,” said President Pelton, who says he is committed to advancing innovation on campus. “The Emerson Accelerator program taps into the entrepreneurial spirit among students and provides them an opportunity to pursue their wonderfully innovative ideas for new businesses before they graduate.” said Pelton. 

With encouragement from Pelton, two entrepreneurial Emerson alumni, Jake Bailey ‘14 and Tripp Clemens ‘13, created the Emerson Accelerator program, which is supported by Emerson’s Trustees and Overseers. Marketing and Communication faculty member Stanley Miller serves as the program advisor and administrator.

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Emerson Overseer Joshua Wachs '87, CEO of Echo & Co.; Stanley Miller, faculty member in the Marketing Communication Department; Donna Heiland, vice president and special assistant to President Pelton; Jake Bailey '13 and Tripp Clemens '13, co-founders of Accelerator. (Photo by Michelle Kwong '15)

Bailey, Clemens, and Miller will monitor the Emerson Accelerator teams and program during the school year.

“The choice between being a starving artist or a sellout is a fallacy,” Clemens said. “In the new creative economy, art and commerce not only merge together, but actually flourish together. We’re looking forward to supporting the student teams in every way we can and helping them reach their goals.”

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