REDF Accelerator Brings Together Dynamic Social Enterprise Leaders with a Focus on Lived Experience in Overcoming Employment Barriers

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Lori Warren
Director of Marketing & Communications
(415) 561-6683


REDF Accelerator Brings Together Dynamic Social Enterprise Leaders with a Focus on Lived Experience in Overcoming Employment Barriers

A new cohort of 18 employment social entrepreneurs from across the U.S. joins the REDF Accelerator to experiment with strategies for accelerating business growth and impact.

SAN FRANCISCO (May 19, 2023) — REDF is thrilled to announce a new cohort of 18
employment social enterprise (ESE) leaders is joining REDF’s Accelerator—a 5-month capacity building program that equips leaders with the network, skills, and tools to further grow their businesses.

With a focus on building a cohort that brings diverse experience and perspectives to their work, 44 percent of leaders have first-hand experience of the barriers faced by the people they employ and 39 percent are led by people of color.

Employment social enterprises reveal and reinforce the talents of individuals overcoming employment barriers with a unique combination of paid, on-the-job training and wraparound support. Participants are able to stabilize their lives, gain and strengthen skills and move into competitive employment. Leaders who bring their own lived experience to running these mission-driven businesses play an important role in devising sustainable solutions and approaches for participants.

“Struggling with addiction and having 32 years of sobriety and recovery helps me relate to many of the challenges our employees at DV8 face while reentering the workforce after incarceration and addiction,” shares Rob Perez, owner of DV8 Kitchen. “I’m excited to work with other like-minded social entrepreneurs who share the passion of providing opportunities for people who might not have them and learn how to better serve our employees and grow the DV8 mission.”

During the REDF Accelerator, leaders will work alongside a cohort of peers to learn, experiment, and implement practices that will grow their businesses and impact. At the conclusion of the Accelerator, each enterprise will receive a $20,000 grant to operationalize their strategies. Leaders will also have the opportunity to connect with ESE peers in REDF’s large and growing REDF Community network, and be eligible to apply for REDF’s Growth Portfolio, which offers additional grant funding.

“We are excited to welcome the newest cohort of employment social enterprise leaders to our Accelerator program,” said Yodit Beyene, Associate Director, REDF Accelerator. “These individuals are passionate about serving their communities through their businesses and have the drive and determination to succeed. They are the future of the ESE sector, and we are confident that they will make a positive impact on our society. We are proud to support their journey and help them achieve their goals.”

The latest cohort will convene leaders from 11 states and Washington, D.C., including Kentucky, a new state to join the Accelerator network. Representing the broad application of the social enterprise model, industries represented include temporary staffing, equine management, and construction.

The cohort will join the 144 ESE leaders the REDF Accelerator has engaged since launching in 2016.