The Blue Oval’s philanthropic arm – Ford Fund – has been a key driver of new programs tailored for communities near the BlueOval City campus, which officially broke ground in September 2022. As Ford Authority previously reported, the automaker wants the facility to elevate the surrounding area, and has launched a program aimed at providing grants for local non-profit organizations and municipalities. Now, an Idea Accelerator Program funded by Ford Fund and several local organizations is taking applications in order to help local entrepreneurs in West Tennessee launch new businesses or ventures.
The Idea Accelerator Program is being spearheaded by Heartland Forward, the CO, and Epicenter Memphis to help 20 West Tennessee residents with $5,000 plus training and other resources as startup material for new business ventures or related projects. Residents of Fayette, Hardeman, Haywood, Lauderdale, Madison, Shelby, and Tipton counties are eligible to apply. Applicants are not required to submit a business plan or have any type of pitch deck ready to go. Residents with ideas that are deemed promising and innovative will be invited to participate in a two-month virtual program in January 2023. The Idea Accelerator Program application system is open now, and runs through a December 12th, 2022 deadline.
“Ford is a committed partner to our new neighbors in West Tennessee and we are thrilled to be working with Heartland Forward to invest in the region,” said Ford Motor Company Fund economic mobility director, Mike Schmidt. “We believe in building pathways with people who have historically had limited opportunities for business development and ownership through access to capital and training. Through these new partnerships we hope to help bring aspiring entrepreneurs’ dreams to life.”
Ford BlueOval City is currently on track to come online in 2025, and is set to heavily impact the surrounding communities. The facility is part of the automaker’s $50 billion bet on electrification, and it has set an annual production run rate goal of two million EVs by the end of 2026, with BlueOval City representing a large chunk of that run rate.