Our accelerator will bring together 16-20 entrepreneurs over a 10-12 week period (still refining the numbers and length of program). We design so that the cohort of peers are their own coaches and mentors, and we also cycle through world-class mentors, thought leaders, legal advisors, design consultants, investors, funders, and so on. At the conclusion of the session, the 16-20 entrepreneurs will peer select which two receive the pre-committed capital (we are developing a non-profit fund).
As important as the capital, however, are the relationships they form: with one another and the mentors/coaches/thought leaders/funders. Our goal is to accelerate these ventures so they can scale and impact across their sector – for instance, a water-saving or energy saving innovation for farmers, a simple mechanism for farmers to get their product to market for a fair price, an innovative design for looms that could be used by home weavers and industrial weavers alike, innovative uses of wood waste, and those are just a tiny sample of the WORLD of innovation that we know is out there!
We don’t know what the innovations will be, of course, but are very excited at what is already happening in this space around the world. we don’t know of any other accelerator focusing on these sectors, although there are some food-focused ones. Our developing model is inspired by www.unreasonableinstitute.org and www.vilcap.com, as well as other high-impact, social enterprise accelerators. currently, we are casting a big net to reach out to hundreds of innovative entrepreneurs and develop a robust pipeline. We will send a short survey to gauge their interest and feasibility, and if they fit, will invite them to apply. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This recent farm study from Iowa is a great example of a simple solution that could have a huge impact on the sustainability of farming. An innovator that can figure out how to get this word to farmers on a large scale is the kind of innovator we want to help. How about an app made available to ag extension agents nationwide? would they share it? if their boss, president obama, mandated it they would :)
An excerpt from the article: “The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent. In short, there was only upside — and no downside at all — associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons.”