tCharleston entrepreneur center seeks startups for next accelerator

Google started its CS-First coding outreach program in the Charleston region about two years ago.

The Harbor Entrepreneur Center is offering its fourth accelerator program for startup companies seeking mentoring and other assistance to grow their businesses.

It will be taking applications until around the end of July, according to spokeswoman Jackie McKelvey. The program will start in August and goes for 14 weeks. Eight startups will get in.

Companies should have “an innovative concept, high potential to scale, and a team with the ability to execute,” the center said in a written statement.

More than 20 companies went through the previous three accelerator “cohorts.” The latest ended in April.

A computer science education program that Google launched in the Lowcountry has hit a lofty milestone.

CS First, which teaches kids the basics of coding to 4th-8th-graders, recently surpassed the 50,000-user mark nationwide. The goal for the year was 25,000, said Manning native and University of South Carolina graduate JamieSue Goodman, who heads up the free volunteer-based program.

The CS First curriculum is designed to introduce school kids to coding via videos and other resources, including a program from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Kate Berrio, program manager.

The California-based Internet search giant operates a big data center off U.S. Highway 52 near Goose Creek. It launched CS First in the Charleston region in 2013.

“It was really just the right place at the right time for Google,” Berrio said.

The coding initiative has since spread nationwide. Schools and other groups have formed about 3,400 clubs led by more than 3,200 volunteers. As of Friday, the number of users totaled 53,100 students.

“It’s incredible,” Berrio said.

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Reach Allison Prang on Twitter @AllisonPrang.