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The inaugural class of aeroinnovators will “graduate” from the first-ever aviation accelerator in the country during AeroInnovate’s Pitch and Mingle event July 21.

AeroInnovate is an aviation accelerator program that operates under the UW Oshkosh Business Success Center. Pitch and Mingle, an annual event held during the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture since 2009, provides industry leaders and potential investors from across the nation the ability to network with fellow entrepreneurs.

During the event, which will be held from 7 until 10 p.m. at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, five companies will pitch their aviation business ventures to a group of investors. The five pitching companies include ICARUS Devices, Interactive Aerial, Advanced Vector Analytics, Enduralock and Grypshon Industries.

“It is incredibly exciting to see the first class graduate, especially if they receive strong investments. It means that we are doing something right,” said Audra Hoy, AeroInnovate director at UW Oshkosh.

“The relationships we are building with these businesses is not just for eight weeks. We want to help these businesses grow beyond just making connections and obtaining investors. We want them to keep in touch with us. Come back to us for research. Come back to us to continue to help them in whatever they need and really utilize the University resources. We provide them a concierge service and that doesn’t stop when AirVenture ends,” Hoy said.

The AeroInnovate accelerator program offers aviation/aerospace startups access to capital, expertise, mentorship and its network. To date, AeroInnovate has allowed 32 companies to pitch innovations to investors. Upon graduation of the first accelerator class, that number will jump to 37. The second accelerator class is expected to kick off June 2016.

“AeroInnovate already has an accelerator class from around the globe, and this lays a perfect foundation to really develop a brand that is known for being on the forefront of aviation innovation year round, not just one week a year or for one accelerator program,” Hoy said. “We’re excited for the future of AeroInnovate at UW Oshkosh.”

Throughout the week at AirVenture, which is held July 20 through 26, AeroInnovate will be represented in the Innovation Center.

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