What's in store

Cathy Jett is the business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene. You can email her at

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Program available for tech start-ups

Lighthouse Labs, a Richmond non-profit, is opening enrollment in its fall technology start-up accelerator program.

Participants will receive a $20,000 grant–with no equity stake–and an immersive, 40-hour week experience from mid-September through final presentations in early December.

The program is broken into three phases: validating a concept, building the product and launch. Participants will also receive insights from area business and marketing thought leaders regarding branding and overall marketability.

At its conclusion, participants will be generating revenue and primed for angel investment.

Lighthouse will fuel the 2014 program with $100,000 in private money from local investors and businesses. Its space, staff and mentors will provide services as in-kind donations.

Entrepreneurs from around the state that have a technology-driven product or service startup should apply online at by July 28. The names of the companies that have been selected will be announced Aug. 8.

—Cathy Jett