If you plan to launch your own social venture or are in the midst of building one, these four incubators can help your venture take flight. Incubators help entrepreneurs by providing seed capital, connections, exposure and in some cases office space too. They are designed to improve your chances for success and to help accelerate the growth of your business.
The four incubators covered are exclusively for social entrepreneurs, they have the expertise and connections to help nurture your social ventures and are sensitive and accommodative of the tension between managing and valuing social outcomes over profit, which is usually a constant dilemma that entrepreneurs face when running social ventures.
Unreasonable Institute, US: They provide mentorship, training and the network to help startups tackling social and environment needs. They pick only 25 high impact entrepreneurs every year and are open to applications from any part of the world. Once you are accepted, you have to spend 6 weeks in their Colorado campus (which is fully paid by them), where you go through extensive training, receive access to 50 world-class mentors, exposure to 20 active impact investment funds, and the chance pitch to hundreds of potential investors and partners. They don’t provide seed funding however the exposure and relationships you build while going through this program help tremendously to give you an edge over others and increases your chances of success and getting funded. Applications for the 2014 Institute will open in September of 2013, if you are interested, you can apply here.
Village Capital, US: There’s is an extremely unique model of incubating social startups. Village Capital makes use of the peer network to strengthen their startups. Also instead of them deciding as to who should receive the seed funding, they place the investment decision in the hands of participating entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have to rank one another at the end of the program as to who is most investment ready and the one ranked highest gets the funding of upto $75000. Village Capital program is executed locally in partnership with the following organizations – Hub Bay Area (San Francisco and Berkeley), Idea Village, New Orleans, Dasra in India, VilCap MENA (for entrepreneurs in Middle East & North Africa), Village Capital London (for UK based entrepreneurs). In addition to exposure, connections and funding, entrepreneurs in the program also immensely gain from peers as they work closely over the course of the program to fine tune their business models. For more information visit their site.
Echoing Green, US: They offer two year fellowships to outstanding entrepreneurs in social and environmental space. They provide seed funding (in the form of grant), professional development, access to experts to help you launch your business and obviously great connections and the fame that comes along with it all. They are open to entrepreneurs applying from any part of the world. You can learn more about the Echoing Green fellowship application process here.
Villgro, India: They only work with entrepreneurs and social startups based in India, and who are focused building solutions for the rural market. Villgro provides an array of services required to get the idea off the ground – seed funding, talent, mentorship, training, experts, anything you may need to launch the startup and prepare for scale. They offer up to USD 60,000 in seed funding (in the form of a zero interest loan but will be soon moving to the loan + equity model) to early stage startups. If you’ll like to apply for Villgro incubator program, visit their website
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