I really believe people should be put at the center of change! Every big or small change starts with people and I was very fortunate to basically spend all my career supporting and learning from private entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, social entrepreneurs, day to day change makers, etc.

Working with many different kinds of change markers, I experienced the common sense that the world is full of good ideas but there is still a huge gap between innovations (ideas) and implementation (ventures).

For this reason, I’m excited to announce a new program that Points of Light (my host organization) is  launching this summer to support social entrepreneurs.

The Civic Accelerator is a joint venture between Points of Light and Village Capital with support from partners PwC and Starbucks.  Our mandate is to invest and support the most promising “civic ventures” — startups that inspire, equip and mobilize people as part of their solution to create positive change.  We are currently recruiting social entrepreneurs and accepting applications.

The Civic Accelerator – What exactly is it?

The program will include funding, networking and exposure.   Each team will receive a $10,000 investment – plus, the two most promising teams, as determined by the entrepreneurs themselves, will get an additional $50,000 each.  The initial cohort will consist of 10-12 teams from around the country and we are looking for entrepreneurs launching both nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises.  After the program, Points of Light and Village Capital will continue to engage with the entrepreneurs –  showcasing them, connecting them with investors and funders, and providing them access to mentors.  The program will kick off this fall.

Selection Criteria – Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a very special flavor of social enterprise…

  • Advance civic engagement – First and foremost, we are looking for the most innovative entrepreneurs who are mobilizing people to create positive change through their time, talent, voice, or money.  Examples of civic engagement include Habitat for Humanity (people’s Time), Sparked (talent), Change.org (voice), or Kiva (money).  At the core of each of these organizations is the ability for citizens to be more engaged in their community.
    • Create measurable impact – We are seeking for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid ventures that will create measurable impact to address a social or environmental challenge with the potential to grow to national/global scale.
    • Currently in the “startup” phase – We want our investment to create catalytic change and are, therefore, focusing on young U.S.-based ventures with the possibility to scale up dramatically.  Ideas on paper aren’t good enough; we are seeking ventures that have some proof of concept and have taken significant action toward realizing their vision.

Are there 1-2 startups that you could nominate for the program (for-profit or nonprofit) that would be a good fit?  Have you met an entrepreneur lately that really inspired you? 

If yes, take a look in our web site and support us!

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