The Young Enterprising Society’s Blueprint program is putting a focus on developing ideas and market validation for products being developed by participating entrepreneurs.

YES co-founders and brothers Khalif and Que El-Amin discussed the program yesterday during the Early Stage Symposium, held in Madison by the Wisconsin Technology Council. Like many others, the startup accelerator program for diverse founders went virtual for part of last year due to the pandemic. Khalif said that “proved to be a blessing in disguise” as companies from six different countries were able to participate in the Milwaukee-based program.

“So there’s obviously a world-wide need for startup accelerators,” he said, adding that YES aims to continue growing the reach of the Blueprint initiative. It’s already been expanded to encompass cohorts in Green Bay and Madison, where Khalif said the program will focus on serving people of color, women and members of the LGBTQ community.

Over time, the program has been expanded in scope to provide participants with more resources and exposure, he said. It includes two 12-week programs, starting with idea validation and followed by a more in-depth market validation process that results in a minimum viable product, or MVP.

“You have your MVP, you’re now trying to figure your way to your early customers, and you’re trying to incorporate skills there,” Que said.

He said non-dilutive grants of about $5,000 for idea validation and up to $15,000 for market validation can be provided to participants. The program overall can provide up to $100,000 in seed capital for startups working in technology, ecommerce and manufacturing.

See more on the program:

Listen to a recent podcast with Khalif and Que: