The REDF Accelerator is a unique, hands-on program designed to help scale employment-focused social enterprise; competitive, revenue-generating businesses that hire and support people who are striving to overcome employment barriers including homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, mental illness, and opportunity youth. Through this program, we invest in you by providing the tools and resources you need to successfully run and grow a purpose-driven business. As a member of the Accelerator, you become part of a cohort of like-minded peers who support and develop each other through the program and beyond. Our curriculum is delivered in partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator and functions like a “mini MBA” designed specifically for leaders of employment social enterprises. We cover traditional business topics including strategic planning, financial planning, and marketing while always keeping the mission of employing those with barriers at the core of all programming.

Curriculum & Outcomes

This program is about learning to embrace the tension that exists between mission and margin and how to use that tension to make both business and programmatic decisions. The core curriculum focuses on the following key areas:
• Business Operations: marketing, finance, operations & organization program improvements: employee supports and workforce development
• Professional Development: Leadership skills & coaching others

In addition to learning from REDF’s two+ decades of experience, Fellows provide each other with experience-based solutions, peer mentorship, and invaluable inspiration. The Accelerator also equips Fellows with the tools and resources to:
• Improve strategic thinking, planning skills, and set bold goals and practice getting outside your “comfort zone”
• Diagnose and overcome challenges by applying a “growth mindset” approach
• Identify and prioritize opportunities for growth on the business and programmatic side of the enterprise
• Connect with peers for future support, problem-solving, sharing, and to expand your local and national professional networks
• Pitch for funding more effectively

If accepted, all costs to attend the Accelerator program are covered by REDF except travel. Upon completion of the program, you are invited to apply for additional funding through REDF’s strategic grant-making program. Each year, about 50% of our Accelerator cohort receives funding. Participation in the Accelerator does not automatically qualify the enterprise for funding through REDF.

Selection Criteria

Applicant Eligibility
• Must be the operating head of an employment-focused social enterprise and have full decision-making authority over the enterprise.
• Willing to provide key data to REDF for a total of three years – during the Program and for the two years after completion. (This includes completion of the Global Accelerator Learning Initiative annual survey.)
• Attend three in-person sessions between October 2019 – May 2020 and complete bi-weekly assignments during that time period.

Enterprise Eligibility
• Revenue should be between $25K - $1M per year. If revenue is above or below this range, you’ll be asked to provide more detail as to why you believe this program is the right fit for the enterprise. For example:

- Revenue is currently $12K/year but there are active contracts that will bring the enterprise to $40K this fiscal year.
- Revenue is currently $1.2M/year, operating costs are high and the programmatic side of the enterprise is struggling since it lacks expertise in employee supports and workforce development.

• Currently employs REDF’s target population (those with a history of homelessness, incarceration, addiction, mental illness and/or opportunity youth) and pays wages that meet local minimum wage standards through a transitional jobs model.
• Located, and legally able to operate in the United States.

Apply for 2020 Cohort

If after reviewing this list, you have questions about whether you are eligible, please contact us at The application for the 2020 cohort will open in early June 2019. We will post specific timing and details about the application process in April.