Acumen Civic Accelerator Launches Fall 2019 Class

Investing in 12 social venture teams addressing the need for young people and adults to develop the skills, training and access to jobs in the innovation economy.

Investing in 12 social venture teams addressing the need for young people and adults to gain the skills, training and access to jobs in the innovation economy

September 30, 2019, New York. The Acumen Civic Accelerator is pleased to announce the 12 ventures selected to participate in its Future of Work program, presented by thePwC Charitable Foundation. Significant forces from automation to technology, globalization, and the growth of the service and knowledge sectors, are changing the skills and opportunities needed in the workplace, with minority, low-income, under-skilled and the most vulnerable communities facing the most significant barriers. Twelve leading ventures from across the country were selected from a pool of over 100 applications based on their potential to transform the future of work by helping everyone succeed in the rapidly changing economy. 

“The social entrepreneurs who will be participating in this program, working to upskill people, are taking on an important role by helping prepare underrepresented groups for the innovation economy,” said Charlotte Coker Gibson, Executive Director of PwC Charitable Foundation. “Through support from the PwC Charitable Foundation, this diverse portfolio of bold ventures will receive the early support they need to lay the foundation for success.”

Over the course of 10 weeks the selected teams, a mix of for-profits and nonprofits, will gather in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York to participate in intensive education, coaching, peer learning, and networking.  At the end of the program, two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves — will be offered a $50,000 grant.

 “We recognize we need innovative and diverse approaches to solve and improve skill-building, retraining and access to employment in this dynamic economy” says Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Civic Accelerator. “ We are excited about this leading-edge cohort which includes ventures helping students gain skills in high-growth industries, to those helping workers adapt to higher-wage opportunities. The changes in our economy require bold, systemic solutions and we can’t wait to see how these leading social startups from across the country will evolve their business models and grow their impact with us over the next three months and beyond”. 

This cohort marks the first as part of the new collaboration between Civic Accelerator and +Acumen. “We are thrilled to launch the Civic Accelerator program as part of +Acumen to expand our support for builders of new social innovations” explains JoAnn Tan, Director of +Acumen. “The diversity in leadership and ideas represented by the incoming ventures of the Future of Work program provides a rich platform for innovating on models that could help vulnerable populations access the economies of the future”.

Selected ventures represent 6 states across the US with 75 percent having at least one female founder or co-founder and 8 out of 12 being led by a founder identifying as a minority.  

The early-stage ventures participating in the Acumen Civic Accelerator Future of Work cohort:

(For-Profit, Baltimore) utilizes dirt bike culture to end the cycle of poverty, disrupt the prison pipeline, and build bridges in communities through STEM education.

(For-Profit, McLean, VA) creates a collaborative environment where college students can engage in project-based learning with companies and gain real-world experience.

(For-Profit, Santa Monica) connects trade associations with students to help them explore job pathways and secure skills-based training opportunities to enter the modern workforce.

(Nonprofit, Los Angeles) leverages the power of video storytelling and technology to help underserved youth find and pursue their dream career.

(For-Profit, Atlanta) connects innovative industries to on-demand black, Latinx, and female talent to ensure representation in changing workplaces.

(Nonprofit, Brooklyn) provides a financial solution that helps people manage their benefits “cliff” to create a path toward financial independence.

(Nonprofit, Galesburg, IL) creates local tech ecosystems and bridges the digital divide between non-urban and urban areas through resources, education and community building.

(Nonprofit, Atlanta) provides in-school and mobile programming to engage youth in the growing film and media professions.

(For-Profit, Brooklyn) prepares the apparel industry for automation by upskilling garment workers.

(For-profit, San Francisco) builds online communities focused on professional development and educational outcomes for middle-skill professions.

(Nonprofit, New York) redirects the lives of foster and at-risk youth to become financially self-sufficient tech professionals through guidance and computer- skills career training.

(Nonprofit, Brooklyn) connects low-income high school students with live tutors any time they need it.