The Acumen Civic Accelerator: Future of Work

Presented by the PwC Charitable Foundation

The Problem

We live in an era of unprecedented speed with respect to technical innovation and adoption. A 2017 Brookings report found that nearly two-thirds of new jobs created since 2010 require either medium or high-level digital skills, yet in the US, a 50% shortage of computer/IT graduates is expected by 2024. The consequences of this skills gap extend to individuals and communities. Individuals entering the workforce, without market-ready technical skills, may face barriers to enter middle-skill opportunities and higher earning potential, as those jobs requiring technical skills pay an average of 17% higher salaries.

 

Low-income and minority communities are more severely impacted. A Pew study found that roughly one-third of families with a household income less than $50k and with children ages 5-18, don’t have high-speed internet at home. This gap in access to digital services not only contributes to the “homework gap,” the premise that low-income students are at a disadvantage without online access to complete homework, but also correlates with the finding that low-income and minority populations on average demonstrate lower rates of digital literacy.

How might we create a future of work where all can succeed in the innovation economy?

The Solution

The Acumen Civic Accelerator: Future of Work, presented by the PwC Charitable Foundation – a 10-week entrepreneur boot camp – will help accelerate 10-15 innovative, scalable ventures that increase workforce access, readiness and success through:

Equipping the Next Generation

Developing tech capabilities among K-12 students to prepare for tomorrow’s workplace

Digital Skills for Economic Mobility

Training and access to higher-wage opportunities for working adults across gender, race, class and geographies

Addressing Workplace Automation

Technical upskilling, on-site education and credentialing in industries undergoing digital transformation

Access to Digital Products and Services

Inclusive access to high-speed internet, mobile communication, and connected devices

Notable Alumni

The following CivicX graduates are leading innovations in digital inclusion across the country.

Offers a complete mobile
solution to reach, train and
upskill today’s workforce on
any mobile device, including
flip phones.

Creates pathways into the technology industry for under-represented students through high-school internships

Teaches students with cognitive disabilities social and work-ready skills for the tech-driven workforce

Creates on-ramps for Blacks and Latinos to gain living wage jobs in the tech sector

Program Benefits

EDUCATION

Curriculum and tools delivered by start-up specialists on revenue generation, funding strategies, and customer acquisition

PEER LEARNING

Work alongside and learn from peer  entrepreneurs around the country

MENTORS AND NETWORKS

Connections to impact investors, business leaders, social enterprises and strategic partners

INVESTMENT

The two most promising ventures each receive a $50,000 peer investment in the form of a grant

CONTINUED SUPPORT

Post-accelerator support with growth strategy, ecosystem connections through the Acumen network, and peer advisory

Why CivicX?

135

VENTURES SELECTED AND GRADUATED SINCE 2012

39%

VENTURES LED BY FOUNDERS OF COLOR

56%

VENTURES LED BY WOMEN

154%

INCREASE IN REVENUE WITHIN A YEAR OF ACCELERATION

Schedule

The Future of Work Accelerator kicks off in Chicago in September. Check out our curriculum overview for more information on the events in each session.

Key Dates

  • September 5: Applications Due at 5:00 pm local time
  • September 12: Finalists Notified and Interviews Scheduled
  • September 16 – 20: Finalist Interviews
  • September 27: Selected Ventures Announced
  • October 7 – 11: Session 1 (Chicago, IL)
  • November 11 – 15: Session 2 (San Francisco, CA)
  • December 16 – 19: Session 3 (New York City, NY)

Venture Eligibility

Who is eligible for the Civic Accelerator Program?

The Acumen Civic Accelerator is seeking innovative social ventures that are working to create greater, more accessible pathways to economic opportunity in communities across the U.S. For more information, please see Eligibility below.

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 grants each, with the decision being made by the entrepreneurs themselves. For the Future of Work program, these grants will be unrestricted funds.

Does the Civic Accelerator cost anything?

No, the Civic Accelerator does not charge for participation. Ventures are, however, responsible for their travel and lodging expenses during the program. Travel stipends (up to $1,200 per team for air travel during the 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 Civic Accelerator program open each year in January and July. Please refer to our Current Programs or complete a Venture Inquiry Form if you’d like to learn more!

What is the relationship between the Acumen Fund and The Civic Accelerator?

The Civic Accelerator is a program of +Acumen and does not make investments on behalf of the Acumen Fund.

Supporters

The PwC Charitable Foundation, Inc. is a section 501(c)(3) organization that invests in emerging solutions to society’s greatest challenges in education and humanitarianism and supports the people of PwC in times of need. The Foundation’s support of the Civic Accelerator: Future of Work program is one way in which the Foundation is helping to accelerate innovative solutions to provide educational opportunities for underserved populations to close the digital skills gap.

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