The REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator
For 20 years, REDF has worked to build the employment social enterprise field by providing grants and specialized advisory services to a portfolio of some of the most innovative and effective social enterprises around the country. In 2016 REDF launched an Accelerator program focused on business advancement designed specifically for social enterprise leaders, in partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. Points of Light Foundation, founded in 1990 in response to President George H. W. Bush’s call for increasing national civic engagement, launched the Civic Accelerator to help socially-minded startups – both for-profit and nonprofit – gain access to resources to better address some of the nation’s most intractable problems by helping to scale their enterprises.
The REDF Accelerator brings together a cohort of talented social enterprise leaders who are using the transitional employment model to help their employees overcome barriers to employment and successfully transition into competitive, long-term employment. Through the program, social enterprises leaders receive expert guidance on core business competencies, employee support programs, and the opportunity to build peer networks to ultimately increase job readiness and long term employment success for these individuals.
Curriculum & Outcomes
The REDF Accelerator core curriculum will focus on the following key areas:
• Marketing, messaging & communication
• Strategic planning & operations
• Financial planning
• Leadership skills & coaching others
• Employee supports & workforce development
Over the course of seven months, the 15-20 person cohort, will meet three times and attend virtual sessions that will serve as touchpoints between the in-person events. The program will provide an opportunity to build collaborative relationships with passionate social enterprise leaders who want to come together to learn from each other and grow their businesses. The Accelerator will also equip participants with the tools to:
• Better diagnose and overcome organizational challenges by applying a “growth mindset” approach
• Improve strategic thinking and planning skills
• Pitch for funding more effectively
• Learn how to better identify and test assumptions
• Create a vision of impact to better align and execute on strategy
• Decrease “burn-out”
• Expand both local and national professional networks
By completing the REDF Accelerator, an enterprise becomes eligible to apply for REDF’s strategic grant funding. These one-year strategic grants or recoverable funding allocations typically range between $10,000 and $40,000. However, participation in the accelerator does not qualify the enterprise for funding through REDF.
Selection Process & Program Schedule
|June 12, 2017||Application Opens|
|July 24, 2017||Application Closes|
|August, 2017||Follow-up Conversations with Applicants (as needed)|
|September, 2017||Selected Applicants Notified|
|September, 2017||Cohort Announced|
|October 25 – 28, 2017||Session 1 | Chicago|
|February 7 – 10, 2018||Session 2 | San Francisco|
|May 2 – 5, 2018||Session 3 | Denver|
In order to apply, the social enterprise and/or applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- REDFworkshop.org member. Not a member yet? Register here. Membership is free and you’ll get information throughout the year about webinars and gatherings REDF is hosting for social enterprises.
- Must be the operating head of an employment-focused social enterprise. (Could be, but isn’t necessarily, the founder. Note: The applicant must have full decision-making authority over the enterprise.)
- Willing to provide key data to REDF during and after the conclusion of the accelerator program.
- Can be a ‘stand-alone’ enterprise or part of a larger agency. In the case of a larger agency, the social enterprise is the organization that is the applicant along with the leader of that application.
- Earned income for 2016 must be between $50,000-$1M. (If the enterprise is above or below this amount, please explain further in the application.)
- Legally able to operate in the United States.
- Currently employs, or seek to employs, REDF’s target population (low-income individuals who face significant barriers to employment) through social enterprise and pay wages that meet local minimum wage standards. (If the enterprise doesn’t yet employ those in the target population, please explain implementation strategy in the application.)
REDF will be evaluating applications on the following criteria:
- Mission Alignment | The enterprise’s strategic vision and mission is aligned with REDF’s priority to support social enterprises that provide transitional employment for those with barriers to employment.
- Leadership Fit | Demonstrated interest in being an active cohort participant to learn from, share with, and teach others.
- Growth Plan Fit | The enterprise growth plan is clear, comprehensive and realistic while offering a compelling vision based on feasibility, market need and job-type fit for the population served.
- Organizational Capacity | The enterprise is in an overall strong position – both operationally and financially – to build on what already exists and with the right support and resources, grow over the next 2-5 years.
Commitment & Application
The in-person sessions will take place on the following schedule and in the following locations. (Please Note: Unless you live in that particular location, you will need to arrive the night before.)
Chicago, IL | October 25 – 28, 2017
San Francisco, CA | February 7 – 10, 2018
Denver, CO | May 2 – 5, 2018
If you’re accepted into the Accelerator Program, attendance at all sessions is mandatory as are the virtual sessions. All participants will be expected to sign a contract agreeing to attend all sessions.
The application will be open from June 12 – July 24.