In a recent article, Wannabe Social Entrepreneur? How to Navigate the Growing World of Impact Accelerators, Entrepreneur.com mentions the increasing need for accelerator programs designed for social entrepreneurs who care just as much about their mission as financial viability. These impact accelerators offer mentorship and resources to growing companies.
New Orleans-based Propeller does just that. Propeller is a nonprofit that works to solve local problems through social entrepreneurship. Propeller acts not only as an accelerator for local startups, but also as an incubator and work space, host to the annual PitchNOLA competition, and a general force dedicated to supporting social innovation in New Orleans.
Author Rachel Solomon points out the main elements in the impact accelerator ecosystem are development stage, geographic location, industry focus and impact objectives.
Roughly two-thirds of impact accelerators target participants geographically.
New Orleans accelerator, Propeller, for example, leverages its local and national policy expertise to help entrepreneurs make an impact on their local community. “Every one of our fellows hits a policy challenge at some point, and we have the resources to support them,” explains Andrea Chen, Propeller’s executive director. “We believe that for social change to happen, grassroots entrepreneurs and policy need to align.”
Since launching its first accelerator program in 2011, Propeller’s fellows have created 72 full- and part-time jobs in New Orleans and generated $5.4 million in financing, revenues and grants.
More information about Propeller can be found at gopropeller.org.