Lots of people have good ideas. TechColumbus is helping a handful of them to become something more.

Lots of people have good ideas. TechColumbus is helping a handful of them to become something more.

Five local companies looking to launch a start-up will receive funding and coaching through 1492, an intensive development program designed to turn passions into products.

“This is not an academic exercise,” said Chris Winslow, assistant vice president of venture acceleration at TechColumbus. “The goal is to launch five businesses out the other side.”

Partnering with two local universities, the organization received roughly 100 online applications and will select 10 semi-finalists by Friday, Oct. 14. Five finalists will be announced at a kick-off party on Oct. 21.

After that, the winners will begin to learn what it takes to launch a successful start-up in the technology or innovation fields.

“We provide up to $20,000 in funding to accelerate their business in that process,” Winslow said. “We also offer a mentoring program to educate them about all the elements of a business.”

The 1492 program encourages local economic growth at a time when more people are looking to start their own companies, he added.

Founded in 2009, the program has seen significant success, most notably with the launch of MobileXpeditions. The Dublin-based company started by Mark Gilicinski and Sean Boiarski designs interactive software and mobile apps to guide people through towns, museums and other venues.

“The program helped us get the software created, helped with branding and helped us get our first client,” Gilicinski said. “[When we started] it was more than an idea, but it wasn’t a whole lot more than an idea.”

The founders learned the ins and outs of entrepreneurship — and that a good idea would only get them so far.

“You’ve got to have a good idea first,” Boiarski said. “But as entrepreneurs, we’ve seen a lot of it is just being committed to stick to it. Success is being stubborn enough not to let it die.”

Photo by Jodi Miller