If you’ve got a great idea for a tech/web start-up but need help getting it off the ground, TechStars is a resource you need to check out.

TechStars is a seed stage investment fund founded in 2006 to help entrepreneurs get started on their dreams. Based in Colorado, TechStars has annual programs in Boulder, NYC, Seattle, and Boston. Any tech entrepreneur is welcome to apply, and those who are accepted receive up to $18,000 in seed funding ($6,000 per founder for up to three founders) and a three-month mentoring program. Participants get free server hosting, workspace, legal services, and access to angel investors and VCs, all of which can help the fledging business really take off.

What does TechStars get in return for offering this wealth of support? Simple: a flat 6 percent of the start-up. And since 70% of companies launched through TechStars in the past few years have become financially self-sustaining or have received outside funding, that 6 percent usually means owning a chunk of success.

Of course, with so much to be gained through TechStars, there’s a lot of competition for the programs. Their website notes that they get hundreds of applicants each year, but they choose only ten or so companies annually for each of their four program cities. The program rotates between the cities: New York plays host to TechStars in the winter, but Boston gets the program in the spring. Boulder is the summer program location, and Seattle hosts the fall participants.

TechStars describes itself as “big on mentorship,” with a laid-back style of working hard in a friendly atmosphere. Their website is peppered with testimonials from business owners praising what TechStars does, less for the funding than for the wealth of advice, support, connections and experience brought to the table by the program mentors during the 3-month “summer camp for entrepreneurs.” In short, TechStars has a whole lot of help ready for you if you’re one of the lucky few they select for your really great tech or web idea.

Get started by applying on the TechStars website. Who knows? You might end up attending one of their programs and seeing your own tech company dream come to life. Good luck!

Sources: TechStars, Wikipedia, TechCrunch