Accelerate South Jersey

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Accelerate South Jersey

Accelerate South Jersey seeks to help those in Camden and Gloucester counties facing economic or other hardships to start and grow businesses of their own. The program lasts 12 months and is offered in partnership with the McKena Center for Human Development and Global Business at the University of Notre Dame. Rowan University manages the program in close partnership with local nonprofit groups, government offices, small businesses, and other university partners throughout the Southern New Jersey region. 


We seek to:

  • Foster the creation of new, profitable ventures by those facing economic or other disadvantages
  • Assist existing small businesses owned by those with disadvantages in becoming sustainable and growing
  • Work with community members on the development of both the person as an entrepreneur and the business as a successful venture
  • Identify and share best practices in poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship
  • Measure and track the development and performance of entrepreneurs and their ventures based on program participation
  • Celebrate entrepreneurial achievements of those facing/overcoming adversity

An Integrated Approach to Community Empowerment

Accelerate South Jersey is an integrated, multi-faceted program that involves six core elements:

  • Training Programs: Community members participate in a six-week bootcamp, held on Saturday mornings, that introduces basic tools, concepts, and principles relevant to launching and growing a successful venture. The bootcamp is designed for people with little to no resources or background.
  • One-on-One Consulting: Following the training, a consulting initiative pairs faculty, graduate students, and other partners with the entrepreneurs to work one-on-one solving particular problems.
  • Mentoring: Participants can receive mentorship from a successful entrepreneur who, where possible, has experiences related to the type of business the entrepreneur is working on. In addition, an ‘expertise pool’ of mentors is available with advice on specific problem areas.
  • Community Connect: Entrepreneurs are connected to valuable resources in the community through quarterly community forums, an Internet platform, and other communication vehicles. Another component is the Co-Marketing program, which encourages community members to do business with the program’s entrepreneurs.
  • Microcredit: Local organizations and financial institutions create a micro-credit fund that provides low-interest and no-interest loans and grants to individuals as they attempt to launch ventures.
  • Grant Support: Participants who complete the program are eligible to apply for small seed funding grants to help accelerate their ventures, up to $3,000. Funding is limited. 
  • Research and Tracking: The program conducts research documenting the challenges facing entrepreneurs, tracking their progress and identifying elements that are successful in helping them to move forward.

Program Timeline

1. Registration opens in June 2024 (apply here).
2. Registration closes in August 2024.
3. Boot camps begin in September 2024.

Community Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs

Program participants will benefit immensely from the Community Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs - an intense, hands-on exposure to the fundamentals of launching and growing a successful venture, taught by seasoned faculty, subject matter experts, and successful entrepreneurs. The bootcamp occurs on six consecutive Saturday mornings in the fall. 

Topics covered in the Community Bootcamp address all facets of a successful venture, ranging from the development of a viable business concept to understanding your market, designing your profit model, setting up operations properly, marketing your venture, and understanding the basic numbers. Our underlying focus is how to think and act in entrepreneurial ways—including how to do more with less—and how to grow a venture when you have little in the way of resources. The approach will be interactive, so participants will be encouraged to bring business ideas and challenges into the weekly discussions.

Bootcamp Details

Six consecutive Saturday mornings, 8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.*
*Most Saturdays will also include an extra session from 12:00-1:00 p.m. that digs deeper into a particular topic with local experts (lawyers, bankers, social media professionals, experts in government contracts).

2024 Bootcamp Dates:

Week One: September 7th
Week Two: September 14th
Week Three: September 21st
Week Four: September 28th
Week Five: October 5th
Week Six (Final Session Graduation): October 19th

Bootcamp Location:

Joint Health Sciences Center
201 Broadway, Camden, NJ 08103

Rohrer College of Business
201 Mullica Hill Rd. Glassboro, NJ 08028

Apply Today!

Apply at by August 10, 2024. After applying and receiving acceptance into Accelerate South Jersey, participants will begin their experience with the Community Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs.


Who should apply? 

  • Existing small businesses
  • People who want to turn a side job into a full-time business
  • People who have ideas for a business

Who is eligible to participate?

Anyone in the community who suffers from adverse economic, physical, or related circumstances is eligible to participate in the program. We focus on supporting community members living in poverty who have a dream of starting and growing a venture, including those who have already started a venture but are struggling.

What is the cost?

The cost of the program is $500. However, scholarships of $475 are available for anyone with financial need. All applicants are considered for scholarship. The $25 fee is due on the first day of the program. Payment information will be made available upon program acceptance. 

How can I support the program?

We welcome the involvement of community members as volunteers, mentors, and donors. Please contact program director, Mike Dominik, at to learn more.

Other Questions?

Contact the program director, Mike Dominik, at


Special thanks to...

Our Program Partners

  • New Jersey Economic Development Authority
  • Camden Kroc Center Salvation Army

Our Program Sponsors

  • University of Notre Dame
  • Gloucester County Board of Commissioners
  • Rowan University School of Innovation & Entrepreneurship 
  • Rowan Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship 
  • Joint Health Sciences Center
  • Cooper Medical School of Rowan University 

Relevant Adversity Research at Rowan University