Not Your Mother’s Accelerator Program
When Flywheel moved to Union Hall in Cincinnati, we were suddenly surrounded by top ranked accelerators like The Brandery, Uptech, and Ocean. We’ll admit it, we were jealous. These accelerators exist to fast track tech startups through funding, mentorship, and branding while similar resources for social enterprises remains limited. So we had a thought: what if we took the best practices of these Cincinnati accelerators and applied them to social enterprises?
Through a partnership with Design Impact and a generous grant from The United Way, Elevator became a reality. Elevator is an eight week program for social enterprises and entrepreneurs to take their minimal viable product/service to the next level. The 5 teams selected into the Class of 2016 will receive mentorship, programming, coworking space, and access to impact investors. The program will conclude with a Demo Day at the Social Enterprise Cincy Summit on October 3rd where teams will pitch their story to 300 leaders in business, civic, nonprofit and government as well as impact investors, social entrepreneurs, and the StartpCincy community.
Elevator’s programming is being built around the participants. We don’t expect team members to quit their day jobs, so we’ve made the curriculum virtual and meetings in the evening. We have a world class team (at least we think so) to plan this program: Flywheel Executive Director Bill Tucker, Flywheel Communications Specialist (and former Brandery intern) Jess Kerr, Design Impact co-founder and Design Director Ramsey Ford, and Design Impact Social and Civic Innovation Specialist Tamaya Dennard. We’re confident our team can create an impactful program that, despite a few inevitable kinks, will add value to five social enterprises.
We are not investing in the social enterprises we accept into the program. There is no prize or giant check presented to them at Demo Day. The purpose of Elevator is to economically and socially impact the Cincinnati community in order to create opportunities for those who have been historically excluded. We’ll do that by helping 5 social enterprises scale and sustain their business with the hopes that investments can be made and jobs created.