In celebration of four years of programming, 60 incubated social ventures, and continued progress for the city of New Orleans, Propeller is digging even deeper. Propeller is re-structuring its core program, the Social Impact Accelerator, to serve more than twice as many social entrepreneurs, and will accept applications until July 31, 2015.
Propeller’s 2015-16 Impact Accelerator will include two intensive tracks that support entrepreneurs throughout the business lifecycle—from idea, to beta, to growth. A 3-month “Startup Accelerator” kicks off in the fall for up to 10 idea-stage ventures, followed by a 5-month “Growth Accelerator,” to begin in February, that propels 15-20 ventures with proven viable business models from initial market traction to scale.
Propeller is currently accepting applications for its Startup Accelerator, with an emphasis on innovative ideas to address food security, educational equity (ages 0-24), healthcare, and water management. Up to 10 early-stage entrepreneurs will be selected for each sector. Applicants are encouraged to apply by June 9, 2015 to receive feedback to strengthen their proposal with the option to resubmit by the final deadline of July 31, 2015.
“Propeller’s vision is to build a critical mass of entrepreneurs tackling key challenges from multiple angles,” says Propeller Executive Director, Andrea Chen. “We have shown that collaboration is essential to drive progress, and the more entrepreneurs we have working together, the faster and more effectively we can create measurable impact.”
The re-structuring marks a major shift from Propeller's previous single Accelerator model, allowing Propeller to serve more than double the number of Impact Ventures in a given year. Additionally, participants will receive tailored support from internationally recognized business experts, in addition to receiving Propeller’s hallmark benefits of pro bono support and free office space at the Propeller Incubator.
Mike Eckert, former CEO of the Weather Channel, will lead the Water Sector as Lead Mentor, and Co-Founder & COO of Better Digestive Health LLC, Neil Gibbons will head up the sectors of Healthcare and Food Security. Neil brings experience in international general management and entrepreneurship with organizations ranging from pre-revenue start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.
“By introducing this two track program, Propeller is truly upping its game as it helps entrepreneurs to successfully bring their ideas to reality,” says Mike Eckert. “I look forward to participating in this next level of Propeller’s evolution as a business incubator, and encourage entrepreneurs with ideas and solutions related to water and coastal erosion problems to take advantage of this program. Very few programs dedicated to water like this one exist in the USA.”
Since the launch of Propeller’s Accelerator programs in 2011, Propeller alumni have gone on to generate a combined $20 million in incremental revenue and financing to impact the lives of thousands of New Orleanians.
“Most new jobs and innovations in our communities won’t come from major corporations; they will be generated by our smallest businesses. At Propeller, we help small entrepreneurial businesses scale their impact, accelerate their performance, realize their dreams and bring about quantifiable improvements to the lives of New Orleanians,” says Neil Gibbons.
Propeller will proudly graduate 15 ventures from their fourth Accelerator class in May. Over the course of the 10-month Accelerator program, running from September 2014 to June 2015, the ventures collectively generated over $1 million in total earned revenue and financing to create substantial impact. Among the successes: nearly 1,000 acres of wetlands were secured for restoration and permanent protection; over 4,000 elementary school children received medical screenings to decrease absenteeism in school; a youth summer camp focusing on leadership development opened its doors and will offer four camp sessions in June and July; and 9,500 fresh meals that would have been thrown away were redirected to receiving agencies like shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens.
Propeller Executive Director Andrea Chen will participate in the "Working with Women Entrepreneurs and Social Innovators" panel at the Forward Cities Detroit convening, June 2015.