17 Incubators For Impact Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprise

Following is a list of accelerator and incubator programs specifically targeting founders and early stage ventures that address social and environmental challenges, in areas ranging from health care, to education, to poverty, economic opportunity and access to technology.  

These organizations are varied in who they serve and where they are located but they share one thing in common:  they offer structured programs designed to help mission-driven founders build organizations (for-profit, non-profit, or hybrid) that generate positive impact at scale.  

We are not able to vet these programs for quality, so do your own diligence and as always, consult with your team of trusted advisors before proceeding.  

Finally, we did our best to create a comprehensive list but please let us know if we've missed any programs. We'll do our best to keep this list current.   

Agora Accelerator, Washington, DC

Targeted to entrepreneurs who create social impact in Latin America and the Caribbean, this is an intensive, 6-month program providing businesses with access to the social, human, and financial capital needed to accelerate growth.

Boomtown Health-Tech Accelerator, Boulder, CA

A 3-month program in Boulder, Colorado focused on entrepreneurs who seek to bring positive impact to health and wellness around the world.

Cleantech Open Accelerator, Redwood City, CA

A 12-week series of intensive workshops and bootcamps to accelerate cleantech startups focused on Energy Generation; Energy Distribution & Storage; Energy Efficiency; Chemicals & Advanced Materials; Information & Communications Technologies; Green Building; Transportation; or Agriculture, Water & Waste. 

Conscious Venture Lab, Columbia, MD

A 4-month immersion program targeting entrepreneurs “using the power of purpose to transform capitalism.” Entrepreneurs must be willing to relocate to Columbia, Maryland for the duration of the program. Companies must be involved in one of the following industries: Cyber Security, Biotechnology, Tech enhanced Professional Services, Technology infrastructure, Hospitality, Consumer Products, 3D Manufacturing, Mobile/ Consumer Internet, Social Applications, and Gaming.                                   

Echoing Green Fellowship, New York, NY

Echoing Green invests in leaders who bring about positive social change around the world. Echoing Green offers three different fellowships. The Global Fellowship is for entrepreneurs "who are deeply connected to the needs and potential solutions that may work best for their communities." The Black Male Achievement Fellowship is for "entrepreneurs dedicated to improving the life outcomes of black men and boys in the United States." The Climate Fellowship is for entrepreneurs "committed to working on innovations in mitigation and adaptation to climate change." Non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid start-up companies are eligible for the fellowship.

Fledge, Various Cities  

With locations in Seattle, Lima, and Barcelona (and a program in Padova, Italy launching in 2018), Fledge offers a 10-week program of guidance, education, and mentorship, plus a large and growing network of support from past fledglings and hundreds of mentors. Applicants should be social impact, for-profit companies that consist of two or more individuals.

GoodCompany Ventures, Philadelphia, PA

Challenging social entrepreneurs to scope and quantify the opportunity that their innovation presents, refine their plan for execution and defend their capitalization strategy.  Over an intensive 12-week period, guides entrepreneurs through a series of expert and investor panels, tactical workshops, peer-to-peer critique, and one-on-one coaching, cumulating in an investor pitch event.  Also offers Climate Ventures 2.0, a 12-week program for entrepreneurs focused on innovations in climate adaptation and resilience, particularly impacting food, agriculture and water in urban areas.

The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®), Santa Clara, CA

Provides social entrepreneurs with Silicon Valley mentors to prepare them for growth, with separate structured programs guiding entrepreneurs from idea-stage to scale. 

Halcyon Incubator, Washington, DC

Helping social entrepreneurs incubate and accelerate social ventures with the capacity for measurable social change. The Halcyon Incubator builds a community of support around the Fellows by bringing together a network of seasoned entrepreneurs and leaders in the government, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors. Ventures may be for-profit, nonprofit, hybrid, or undecided, as long as the core mission is to create measurable social change. 

Imagine H2O, San Francisco, CA

Focused on the water sector, Imagine H2O connects entrepreneurs with world leaders in the water sector, government, and social enterprise to help turn ideas into self-funding, high impact solutions.  IH2O's annual programs focus on themes representing entrepreneurial opportunities within water.  Entrepreneurs are selected to participate in Imagine H20’s annual innovation program and the winning teams get to participate in the business accelerator.

Impact Engine, Chicago, IL

An intensive 16-week accelerator program designed for mission-focused for-profit ventures in broad range of industries, from technology-enabled Internet and products-based companies across different sectors and countries. 

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, Los Angeles, CA

A non-profit, public-private partnership that helps promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions.  Focused on products or services that advance sustainable or efficient use of resources.

Points of Light Civic Accelerator (CivicX), Regional

National accelerator program and investment fund focused on for-profit and nonprofit early stage ventures “that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems.” The 10-week, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each venture to seek investments and scale their social innovation that are working to create greater, more accessible pathways to economic opportunity in communities across the U.S.

Praxis Labs, New York, NY

Focus on Christian entrepreneurs, Praxis provides mentorship and expert networks for entrpreneurs committed creating cultural and social impact through their venture.  Though applicants must be Christian, their organizations are not required to have a religious affiliation.

Singularity University, Silicon Valley, CA

Designed specifically for startups tackling humanity’s grand challenges leveraging exponential technology. An 8 week on-campus program in Silicon Valley which early stage ventures for scale and impact.  

Unreasonable Institute, Various Cities

A wide network of accelerators, located across the U.S. and globally, focused on support entreprenenurs tackling significant social and environmental challenges.  Locally, San Diego Unreasonable Lab San Diego runs a 5-day accelerator for early/idea-stage, San Diego-Tijuana (Cali-Baja)-based entrepreneurs that are tackling financial, social, health, or environmental problems.  

Village Capital, Various Cities

Building communities of practice around entrepreneurs solving major global problems in agriculture, education, energy, financial inclusion, and health. Peer-selected investment model empowers entrepreneurs to become investors themselves, and our programs provide them with training and mentorship from industry experts, policymakers, business leaders, investors, and other entrepreneurs.  The program is structured around three 4-day workshops featuring sessions led by leading entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and the Village Capital teams. Programs are held in multiple cities throughout the United States.

This article was researched and written by BCL legal extern Stephanie Snively.  

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Francesco Barbera

Francesco Barbera is a corporate attorney representing emerging growth corporations in a wide range of industries, including software, technology, digital, fashion, health care, retail and e-commerce. He counsels entrepreneurs, investors and established companies on the full range of their business activities, from formation through raising capital, growth and acquisition.  He has special expertise in the representation of mission-driven organizations and social enterprises.  

Throughout his career, he has represented the National Broadcasting Corporation, the Grammy Museum, Ares Capital Management, Credit Suisse First Boston, as well as privately held businesses in internet, media and technology, mobile applications, consumer products, professional sports, film and television production, among others over the course of his career. 

Francesco began his legal career at two large, international law firms in Los Angeles, where he represented large and small enterprises in a broad range of transactions, from mergers and acquisitions to public and private securities offerings to the formation of partnerships and joint ventures.

Francesco is also the Co-Chairman of the Los Angeles chapter of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.  A lifelong student of psychology and personal development, Francesco holds a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica and has been trained and mentored by numerous leaders in the personal development arena, including Steve Chandler, Byron Katie and George and Linda Pransky. 

Francesco has also founded and represented non-profit initiatives. He has served as outside counsel to the Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter school dedicated to training the next generation of social and political leaders, and he is the founder and former Executive Director of SpiritWalk, a non-profit fundraiser created to benefit the University of Santa Monica.    

Francesco’s writing has appeared in The American LawyerCalifornia LawyerSlate, and others. He served as the Supreme Court columnist and Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Record and was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Penn History Review, the first Ivy League journal in the country dedicated to the publication of undergraduate historical research.

Francesco is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, and the University of Pennsylvania, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.