Maritime Blue is an independent cluster alliance, based in Seattle, that is committed to the development of maritime business, technology, and practices that promote a sustainable future. The Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator is one of its signature initiatives. It is an intensive four-month program that connects maritime industry startups to advisors, corporate partners, government agencies, and investors. Sessions are led by industry experts and each startup is paired with a dedicated mentor.
The Tacoma Maritime Innovation Incubator is a complementary resource for young, innovative maritime businesses. Based in the Center for Urban Waters in Tacoma, the incubator aims to grow and extend the time that a company has to refine its product or service by providing space, expertise, and industry connections.
The 21 businesses that participated in the first two cohorts of the Maritime Blue Innovation Accelerator have raised more than $80 million in funding and created 300 jobs. The second cohort, which began in Spring 2021, was comprised of 10 startups drawn from a pool of 116 applicants. This applicant pool was nearly 20% larger than the first cohort, and over 20% of applicants were Washington-based companies. Five of the 10 startups selected for the second cohort are women-owned.
The Tacoma Maritime Innovation Incubator has admitted seven companies as of November 2021, of which four have founder teams entirely made up of people of color and three are founded by women. Of the first three companies to join, two have living-wage job openings and one doubled its workforce from four to eight employees.