UpStart – which partners with the Jewish community’s boldest leaders to expand the picture of Jewish life – is launching applications for its new Entrepreneur Sprints program, as well as for their prestigious Venture Accelerator. UpStart’s Venture programs elevate the organizations and leaders who are fueling a renaissance in Jewish life, providing the creative, technical, and business support to take bold ideas to the next level of growth.
The Venture Accelerator, UpStart’s flagship program for growth-stage ventures, is an 18-month opportunity for organizations to articulate and act on a sustainable plan for success. Accepted organizations will receive a substantial investment: $25,000 in initial funding, and eligibility to receive up to $75,000 in additional unrestricted grant funding. Leaders of these organizations will receive intensive training, coaching, and network-building to help scale quickly and sustainably.
Entrepreneur Sprints are a new initiative to cultivate ventures in their earliest stages of development, supporting the Jewish community’s risk-takers as they test and iterate on their ideas – a group that previously received little support. These six-month, immersive training programs guide early-stage ventures towards developing proof of concept, a way of demonstrating that their initiative works.
Participants receive in-person training, individualized coaching, and access to a $2,500 unrestricted grant. There will be a National Sprint for initiatives across the country, as well as a New York Sprint in partnership with UJA focused on leaders and organizations in the New York region. The curriculum uses the building blocks of the Venture Accelerator to better prepare early-stage ventures.
All participating leaders and organizations join the growing UpStart Venture Network. Since 2006, the UpStart network of programs has served as a launch pad for more than 100 Jewish organizations, such as Hadar, At The Well, and JQ International. Applications are competitive and close on January 21 at 11:59pm PT.
“Our experience with Upstart has been transformative,” said Shana Erenberg, Executive Director of Libenu, Cohort 9 of the Venture Accelerator. “What we have learned has helped us move from a volunteer-driven, grassroots organization to an established organization that is poised for future growth and expansion.”
UpStart operates in 18 communities nationwide, with hubs in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver/Boulder, working with entrepreneurs and institutional leaders alike.
Of the in-person session during the Entrepreneur Sprints, participant Naomi Ackerman of The Advot Project said, “The Lab reminded me of the dream of a better world, the one that I started this work for. I feel that now I have a better chance of catching those dreams.”
Round 1 of applications is open for only two weeks: January 8–21. Information about the Venture Accelerator and Entrepreneur Sprint, including eligibility criteria, can be found at https://upstartlab.org/programs/apply/. Applications are accepted from across the U.S. and beyond.