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Many startups invest time and resources into developing a fully-functional prototype, only to stall out when it’s time to start production and enter into the market.


The tools and knowledge required to identify a customer need and create a working prototype are different from the process of designing and creating a reproducible product and working with manufacturers to scale production at the required quality while keeping costs reasonable.


The Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator, funded by the Economic Development Administration and offered in partnership with the College of Engineering at Cornell University, is a cohort-based program that supports hardware startups ready to bring their prototypes into production.


Participating entrepreneurs benefit from programming, significant manufacturing expertise and advice, business mentorship, access to local manufacturers, and introductions to investors to enable them to advance from the prototype stage into production and bring their products to market.

Who is this program for?

The manufacturing hardware accelerator is designed for startups based anywhere in the U.S. that have already developed a fully functional prototype and identified its customer market. Hardware and physical product startups with innovations geared towards businesses or consumers that include electronics, plastics, enclosures, mechanisms, and or machines are encouraged to apply.


Ideal candidates have a:


  • Legal entity company with the rights to the intellectual property behind their design
  • Dedicated full-time team (prefer at least two people, but one person can qualify)
  • Validated business model, including technical feasibility and business viability
  • Identified market size and customer problem
  • Viable, working prototype that meets customers’ needs
  • Funding plan to make initial prototypes
Meet the 2021 Cohort

Questions about the Manufacturing Hardware Accelerator?


[email protected]

Program Details and Expectations

The 8-10 accepted cohort teams will have access to valuable programming, mentorship, and networking opportunities over the course of the 60-week program.

  • The cohort will gather virtually two weekdays each month for a focused workshop
  • The entire cohort will gather in Ithaca, NY approximately three times during the program for immersive experiences and manufacturing tours
  • Each startup will meet with its assigned mentor for one hour each month
  • Additional ecosystem events, networking opportunities, and training sessions will be shared with the cohort, but are not required

Mentorship & Networking


  • Manufacturing counsulting
  • Regular meetings with Entrepreneurs-in-Residence from a variety of fields
  • Manufacturer visits and introductions
  • Networking events



  • SBIR, funding, investing, and financing
  • Design for X (Manufacturing, Assembly, Test)
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Electronics subassemblies
  • CAD and software tools
  • Intellectual property
  • Quality systems & Regulatory
  • Packaging, distribution & logistics
  • Sales
  • Pitching
  • Negotiations
  • Product & Project management
  • Bill of Material and Bill of Process

According to research in USA Today, Ithaca ranks 13th for “Most Innovative City” in the U.S.

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