Entrepreneurs across the country are creating ideas and social enterprises designed to confront our world’s biggest challenges. But there’s one catch: starting a social enterprise isn’t easy.
Enter the Halcyon Incubator, a program of S&R Foundation designed to support early-stage social entrepreneurs with, most notably, a residency program where up to 8 start-up hopefuls will work and live together in the historic Halcyon House in Georgetown. This four-month residency is coupled with a living stipend, and free workspace for eight months to ensure that social entrepreneurs from any socioeconomic background can succeed with a great idea and exit the program with a plan for action. Best of all? It is free to those who are accepted and fellows don’t have to give up any equity in exchange.
“Social entrepreneurs are going to fundamentally change how we solve problems in the next few decades,” says Ryan Ross, Program Manager of the Halcyon Incubator. “By providing an immersive program for the fellows, the program can significantly increase the social impact of the ventures.”
At Halcyon, fellows are also provided with many of the trappings of a traditional incubator or accelerator, including mentorship, programming around key entrepreneurial skills, and access to funders. While these are all vitally important to the experience, Halcyon has carved a unique niche with its synergistic residency component.
Andrew Foote, co-founder of Sanivation with its unique business model for toilets, is a current fellow at the Halcyon Incubator. He believes that by reimagining how sanitation services are delivered to the urban poor in developing countries, it can save the lives of thousands of people. Sanivation is a social enterprise that installs toilets in homes in Kenya for no upfront cost, and then transforms the waste collected into charcoal briquettes that can then be used for clean fuel.
Foote described it this way, “Halcyon has provided me with the time, space, and mentorship to not just have the audacity to say Sanivation is going to serve 1 million people in 5 years, but to have a concrete and vetted action plan about how we are going about do it.”
Halcyon has also taken a unique approach by accepting both for-profit and non-profit startups. “We are looking for ambitious and sustainable ventures that are creating innovative solutions. This goal can be realized across sectors,” says Ross.
The program accepts applications twice a year and is currently recruiting its next round of fellows. Do you have a startup or an idea that will change the world? The application for the Washington DC based program can be found online and is due by Thursday, May 7th at 5 pm EDT.
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