Who is eligible for the Civic Accelerator Program?

The Civic Accelerator is seeking applications from early-stage for-profit and nonprofit ventures that are addressing specific social challenges. The challenge statement and application for the Fall 2018 Civic Accelerator will be available in July 2018.

Who is behind the Civic Accelerator program?

The Acumen Civic Accelerator was founded with support from the PwC Charitable Foundation and the Starbucks Foundation.

Does the Civic Accelerator support both for-profit and nonprofit ventures?

Yes. We are agnostic to legal structure and instead focus on the mission and impact that a social enterprise can have on the world.

What are the terms for the $50,000 peer investment program?

At the conclusion of the Civic Accelerator program, two teams will be selected to receive $50,000 investments each, with the decision being made by the entrepreneurs themselves. The terms of the investment vary depending on the specific program. Please refer to the particular program page for more information.

Does the Civic Accelerator cost anything?

No, the Civic Accelerator does not charge for participation.  A limited air travel stipend ($1,200 total for the 10-week program) and hotel accommodations are available for selected ventures, and most meals during the program are provided by Acumen.

What are the logistics for the Civic Accelerator program?

The Civic Accelerator is a 10-week program, bringing together two- to three-person teams from across the U.S., We plan to convene the entire cohort of 10 to 15 teams for three four-day sessions or retreats over the course of the 10 weeks. In addition, teams will be grouped based on their geography, paired with local mentors and required to meet weekly (through virtual mediums) during the times when they are not together as a single cohort.

How do I apply for the Civic Accelerator program?

Applications for the Fall 2018 Civic Accelerator program will be available beginning in July 2018. Please check back on our website or sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on the application launch.

Requirements and Eligibility

You should be able to answer “yes” to the following questions before you apply:
  • Is your venture registered in the U.S.?
    Our current focus is on supporting U.S.-based startups, both for-profit and nonprofit, though your customer or user base can be anywhere in the world.
  • Do you address the current impact challenge?
  • Are you launching a “civic venture?”
    Does your startup achieve a social or environmental mission by engaging people as a core part of the solution?
  • Are you in the startup phase?
    We do not select ventures at the idea stage. You should have a prototype or have completed a pilot program prior to applying.
  • Have you recruited a minimum of two to three people to join your team?
    We believe that most successful startups are not the product of a lone entrepreneur, but rather the collective work of small teams. We will consider teams of two or more people and are very reluctant to accept one-person startups.
  • If your venture is a nonprofit, have you developed a means to generate earned revenue?
    We are interested in nonprofits that plan to supplement traditional grant and sponsorship revenues with earned revenue models.
  • Is your venture a social enterprise?
    A social enterprise is an organization that applies business strategies to achieving social or environmental goals and can be structured as a for-profit or nonprofit.
  • If accepted, will you be able to attend the entire Civic Accelerator program?
    To be eligible, at least one of your team members must be able to attend all three sessions in full.
  • If your venture does not answer or address the current impact challenge.
  • Your venture is past the startup phase. We typically define the startup as less than five years old, and still experimenting with models for scalable and repeatable growth.
  • Your proposal is for a faith-based initiative. We do not support ventures that are aligned with a specific religious institution or have been established to promote a specific faith.
  • You have no track record of raising or generating revenue.
  • Your venture is grounded in or focused on a specific political agenda or party.