The following blog post was written by Sara Johnson, Village Capital Program Associate.
Village Capital is proud to announce its partnership with Points of Light, the world‚Äôs largest service organization, as we jointly launch the Civic Accelerator this fall. ¬†The twelve-week Civic Accelerator will provide opportunity to for-profit and non-profit ventures focused on civic engagement across the U.S. to meet like-minded peers, engage with experts to build their businesses, and gain access to funding, culminating in a “demo day”¬†to showcase the entrepreneurs. ¬†Each selected entrepreneur will receive initial seed funding of $10,000, and at the end of the program, two entrepreneurs selected by their peers will receive $50,000. Applications are due on September 10th, 2012, and the Civic Accelerator will formally begin in mid-November.
What is a ‚Äúcivic engagement venture,‚ÄĚ¬†you ask?
Well, we define civic engagement ventures as those working to achieve a positive impact on the world by engaging people directly. ¬†A few examples of some well-known civic engagement ventures would be:
- Crowd-funding:¬†Kiva¬†and Village Capital alum MILAAP¬†use the power of the Internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
- Volunteerism:¬†Habitat for Humanity¬†builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses alongside homeowner partner families;¬†Sparked¬†offers a unique platform which can engage corporations in “micro-volunteerism,” helping with everything from disaster relief to aid mapping.
- Human Capital:¬†ReWork¬†gathers sharp, ambitious, and passionate professionals who are hungry for meaningful work and places them with organizations that are dedicated to addressing social and environmental issues.
- Collaborative Consumption:¬†Village Capital alum viaCycle,¬†the “ZipCar for bikes,” enables bicycle-sharing in communities across the U.S.
- Civic Engagement:¬†Village Capital alum LoudSauce¬†enables passionate groups of citizens to pool their resources and buy advertising for mass-awareness campaigns; Village Capital alum DemDash¬†enables citizens to better track and manage their civic engagement online.
Additionally, the Civic Accelerator will provide numerous resources and forms of assistance to our enterprises:
- Funding: Each team will receive $10,000 ‚Äď plus, the two most promising teams, as determined by the entrepreneurs themselves, will get $50,000 each.
- Mentoring: Support from an elite group of experienced entrepreneurs, impact investors and community leaders ‚Äď all committed to the success of the participants.
- Education: 12-week program provides training from industry experts on funding raising, startup engineering, marketing, and scaling your venture.
- Networking: The chance to work closely with and learn from a peer group of social entrepreneurs from around the country.
- Exposure: Access to a growing number of investors, companies, and nonprofits that can help you establish credibility and spread the word about your startup.
We hope you’re as excited as we are. ¬†If you’ve got a “civic venture” generating impact, we’re interested–apply or be nominated for the Civic Accelerator.
For more information, log onto¬†www.pointsoflight.org/
Please feel free to direct any questions or concerns to civicincubator@PointsofLight.org.