What We Do > REDF Accelerator
Applications for our Summer 2023 cohort are now open and reviewed on a rolling basis, so don’t wait to apply!
Are you a leader of an employment social enterprise? A business that generates revenue from the sale of a product or service and provides paid employment to individuals breaking through barriers to work. Are you poised for growth and greater impact? Are you looking to strengthen your program and your bottom line? Would you like to build a community of support with like-minded peers?
The REDF Accelerator was built with you in mind.
Described as a “mini-MBA,” the REDF Accelerator is a five-month, hands-on program designed to equip social enterprise leaders with the connections, skills, and tools to grow their enterprises and increase the number of meaningful jobs they create.
During this highly interactive five-month program, you’ll work alongside your peers to learn and put into practice the methods, skills, and tools needed to achieve big goals and reach key milestones. And there’s no fee to participate.
The benefits don’t end after those five months―once you have successfully completed the REDF Accelerator, you will receive a $20,000 grant to implement some of the high-impact lessons learned during the Accelerator. You’ll also become part of the REDF Community of 150+ leading employment social enterprises located around the country, gaining access to additional skill-building resources, capacity building from the REDF team, and the opportunity to continue to learn alongside your peers.
Note: The next REDF Accelerator will be held in a hybrid model of in-person & virtual. While we are currently planning for some in-person cohort convenings, we are following the recommendations of the CDC for all guidance around large in-person convenings. With this in mind, our in-person convenings may be converted to virtual convenings. Our decisions will prioritize the health and safety of our leaders and staff. Hear from Accelerator alums about the changes REDF made to build the virtual Accelerator experience in 2020.
The REDF Accelerator is now reviewing applications (apply here!) on a rolling basis for two cohorts per year. We will accept applicants on a first-come first-serve basis and place them into one of two upcoming cohorts: Winter (Jan – May) or Summer (Jul – Nov). Cohort spots do fill up so apply as soon as possible.
The stages of our rolling application review process are:
Key Dates for 2023 Program
NOTE: We are no longer accepting applications for our Winter 2023 cohort (Jan – May), but are still accepting applications for our Summer 2023 cohort (Jul – Nov). Applications for our 2023 cohorts are reviewed on a rolling basis.
If you have questions, reach out to the REDF team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Accelerator structure and curriculum are designed to equip leaders with the tools and resources to work on:
The core curriculum focuses on the following key areas:
Note: Only a single leader from the enterprise will participate in the REDF Accelerator. That leader must commit to attending the full program and engage in peer collaboration in-between convenings.
Note: The next REDF Accelerator will be held in a hybrid model of in-person & virtual. While we are currently planning for an in-person program we are following the recommendations of the CDC for all guidance around large in-person convenings. With this in mind, our in-person cohort convenings may be converted to virtual convenings. Our decisions will prioritize the health and safety of our leaders and staff.
The Accelerator program operates our review process through inclusion-centered decision-making – meaning our goal as an Accelerator program is to accept every leader into our program that is eligible and ready. During our review process we are looking for reasons to include leaders in our program NOT exclude.To facilitate this partnership, we will be reviewing applications based on the following criteria.
* REDF offers a limited number of travel stipends to support leaders who face financial hardship in attending the in-person cohort convenings. The stipend amount may not cover the full cost of your travel.
We recognize that COVID cases are rising around the country, and the reality on the ground in different communities is quite different. We are approaching this event with a deep sense of responsibility and an understanding of our role as a convener in ensuring the health and safety of everyone in attendance, those in the local community we will come into contact with, including the staff at each venue and hotel, and the individuals within your own communities you will return to after the event.
You can find the REDF Accelerator program COVID-19 Policy here.
REDF aspires to advance racial equity in our programs and funding decisions, and generate significant impact in terms of employment for individuals overcoming barriers. We understand our privilege and power as a funder, and recognize that if we are not actively working to advance racial equity, then we are contributing to the systems of inequity, oppression, and underinvestment in communities of color. In addition, REDF believes that leaders of color and those who share the lived experience of their program participants, bring invaluable expertise to their work and to the sector, and so we seek to increase the allocation of REDF resources to them.
REDF welcomes feedback on how we can continue to improve our programs and processes to advance racial equity.
Where can I find the application?
Access the Accelerator application here.
When do applications for the Accelerator program open and close?
The REDF Accelerator application opens on July 7, 2022. The REDF Accelerator reviews applications on a rolling basis to fill our two cohorts per year.
Consideration for Winter 2023 closes on October 3, 2022 at 11:59 PM PST. Because applications are now reviewed on a rolling basis they may fill up before our October 3rd cut off date. We recommend you apply early. Below are the key application & selection dates;
How can I learn more about the program?
You can access the Accelerator informational webinar recording and presentation here. We have broken the webinar down into two parts:
For questions regarding eligibility please contact the REDF team at email@example.com
Who should participate?
This program is designed for one leader from the social enterprise with decision-making authority to implement changes within their social enterprise. Examples of past participant roles include CEO’s/ED’s, founders/co-founders, and Social Enterprise Directors. Please inquire with the REDF Accelerator team if you are unsure who from your enterprise should participate.
Can I reapply to the REDF Accelerator if I have already been through the REDF Accelerator?
Leaders and organizations that have already been through the Accelerator or the VPP (now known as the Growth Portfolio) are not eligible to participate again.
It is our intention that leaders will bring the program learnings back to their organization and share them, and those leaders have ongoing access to their curriculum archive in order to do so.
If you lead a social enterprise that has already been through the Accelerator but have since launched a new business line you may be eligible to reapply.
How much does the program cost?
There is no fee to participate in the REDF Accelerator. For our in-person cohort convenings, hotel accommodations and breakfast and lunch are provided. Participating leaders are responsible for purchasing their travel (plane tickets, etc.) to our in-person convening locations. REDF offers a limited number of travel stipends to support leaders who face financial hardship in attending the in-person cohort convenings. The stipend amount may not cover the full cost of your travel.
Will I have to cover my travel expenses?
The REDF Accelerator will cover the majority of travel expenses incurred for in-person cohort convenings.
REDF pays for:
Participants pay for:
How much time will I need to invest in the program?
The three, week-long cohort convenings are full-day. Please plan to be “out of office” for these three convenings. In-between convenings, plan to allocate 2 – 5 hours per week connecting with peer feedback groups and making progress on the projects you identify in the program. We anticipate you dedicating about 150 hours to this program in total:
Why is the program hybrid?
We understand that in-person cohort convenings require a significant travel commitment. Our second session is virtual to offset the time required away from your enterprise. Please note that during this virtual session the workshops will still be full-day (with added accommodations and tailored scheduling to manage “screen time.”)
What information do I need to prepare before applying to the Accelerator program?
Information to Prepare
Documents to Prepare
How can I share program learnings with my broader team?
All program materials (decks, workbooks, shared materials from the cohort, etc.) will be made accessible via Google Drive. We will also offer suggestions for how to involve your team in specific projects. After graduating from the REDF Accelerator, you and your extended team will have access to expanded offerings via the REDF Community.
Do I need to be fully vaccinated to participate in the REDF Accelerator?
We approach our role as conveners of REDF Accelerator cohort convenings with a deep sense of responsibility for the health and safety of everyone in attendance. Here you can find the COVID policy we are implementing to facilitate participation and safety. Our COVID policy is subject to change, and we will let leaders know as soon as any changes are made.
What does the Accelerator team take into consideration when reviewing applications?
The Accelerator program operates our review process through inclusion centered decision-making. Our goal as an Accelerator program is to accept every leader into our program that is ready and eligible. During our review process we are looking for reasons to include leaders in our program NOT exclude.To facilitate this partnership, we will be reviewing applications based on the following criteria.
What are the requirements to receive the program grant?
Grants are disbursed at the completion of the program and evaluations.
If I apply and am not selected, can I reapply?
Yes! We understand that your business will continue to evolve and grow, and we will stay in touch to learn if a future program is a better fit for your enterprise
Located around the country, Accelerator alumni are poised to make major moves in the employment social enterprise sector.
REDFworkshop has the tools, resources, and connections you need to grow your business and increase your impact.
I love the cohort model. All of the Accelerator Fellows are knowledgeable and really passionate about their work. We are becoming such a closely tied community, and I think every startup entrepreneur needs a community.
Jerelyn Rodriguez, Co-Founder and CEOThe Knowledge House
The Accelerator program feels like an MBA program designed for my nonprofit social enterprise. The depth and specificity of learning, and how relevant it has been to my work, is incredible.
Paul Fordham, Deputy Director of Homeward BoundWagster Treats
The community and networking that the Accelerator program offers is fantastic and so energizing. It’s incredible to meet people from across the country doing such phenomenal, impactful things.
Paige Pavalone, Executive DirectorMissoula Works
Being part of the Accelerator is going to help me take my social enterprise to the next level. I have learned so many new lessons and ideas – from other participants and the speakers – that I can take home and implement.
Justin Green, Founder and Executive DirectorBig Reuse
May 25, 2017
June 8, 2017
April 14, 2017