Zeal Growth Accelerator led to tremendous growth for this business. Yours could be next

April 16, 2018

This piece is presented by the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.

One year ago, Trisha Dohn was a new business owner who knew she had a lot to learn to succeed as an entrepreneur.

The accelerator program at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship couldn’t have come at a better time for Dohn and her business, Well365, which offers customized wellness programs for businesses.

“The program tasked me to actually do things that I knew I should do, but without the program I probably wouldn’t have made the time,” she explained.

In the three-month Zeal Growth Accelerator, she created business and strategic plans, built projections, established an elevator pitch and gained confidence that would help the business succeed.

“I instantly was exposed to other like-minded folks, which was very beneficial, and it also introduced me to those in the community that could not only be great mentors, but I gained introductions to potential clients and leads for Well365,” she said.

Since graduation in the fall of 2017, Well365 has experienced tremendous growth, she said. Dohn went from a team of contracted employees to full-time staff. She moved out of her basement and coffee shops and now is working out of her second office space because the team has grown so much.

“We have more than tripled our client base and are growing more and more relationships each week,” she said.

Recently, she became part of a national tour organized by the Fellowes organization, speaking about corporate wellness in 10 major cities nationwide.

“Together, we will educate consumers on the value of corporate wellness, why it is important and how it can enhance the workplace,” she said.

Dohn’s success is an example of what companies can achieve with the help of Zeal’s accelerator, which is taking applications for this year’s 12-week session. It starts June 15 and runs until Sept. 13.

Up to four companies will be accepted and ultimately could access a cash infusion for their business in addition to the opportunity to present to potential investors.

Additional opportunities provided by the accelerator include:

  • Full-day working-group sessions featuring guest experts.
  • Business coaching from Zeal’s entrepreneurs-in-residence and mentors.
  • Assistance with formalizing a strategic plan, needs assessment and business plan stress test.
  • Access to potential financing partners.

“We’d like to see an organization that has already been started, is post-revenue or has a brand-new product they’re ready to take to market. We want to ultimately be able to form a strategic plan and a quantitative goal,” said Zeal’s Ryan Oines, who is overseeing the accelerator program. “The resounding component is scalability, so something that can be multilocation, add jobs or create opportunity for outside revenue to come to our community.”

The Zeal Growth Accelerator is sponsored through partnerships with The First National Bank in Sioux Falls, Eide Bailly, Woods Fuller, Midco and Interstate Office Products.

“We’re connecting our participating companies with multiple resources thanks to a valuable lineup of professional partners,” Oines said. “We deliberately are keeping the group small, so our partners can maximize their time with the participants.”

Dohn encourages her fellow entrepreneurs to consider applying.

“I can’t recommend the program enough,” she said.

“I truly would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the relationships and knowledge I gained from the accelerator. Entrepreneurship is not easy, and this program will introduce you to a family of entrepreneurs who genuinely want to see you succeed and will support you during the program and after, throughout the roller-coaster that the entrepreneurial journey can be.”

The application can be downloaded on Zeal’s website and must be submitted by May 11 with a nonrefundable $99 fee.

To find information or submit questions, visit the accelerator’s landing page at realzeal.com/accelerator.

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Zeal Growth Accelerator led to tremendous growth for this business. Yours could be next

The accelerator program at the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship couldn’t have come at a better time for Trisha Dohn and her business, Well365. Apply now for this year’s program.

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