Applications open today, October 4th, for the new UpStart Accelerator (now called the “UpStart Venture Accelerator”), the Jewish community’s leading engine behind the success of groundbreaking Jewish ventures. With the launch of its eleventh cohort, UpStart has refined the program, including increased funding for participants, individualized coaching, and access to the UpStart network. Since 2006, the UpStart network of programs has served as a launch pad for nearly eighty Jewish organizations, such as JLens, Jewish Studio Project, and Or HaLev. Applications are competitive and close on October 18 at 5:00pm PT.
The Venture Accelerator is an 18-month opportunity for organizations at a similar stage of growth 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 funding. Leaders of these organizations will receive intensive training, coaching, and network-building to help scale quickly and sustainably.
“UpStart took me – and dozens of other idealistic Jewish dreamers – in, and taught us how to build organizations that would give our dreams legs,” said Rabbi Benay Lappe, award-winning educator and founder of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. “They taught us how to write mission statements, build business models, make elevator pitches, write budgets, design and scale programs, create development plans, make asks, build boards, do evaluation, and even design effective marketing emails – things they don’t teach you in rabbinical school. And they taught us that we weren’t alone.”
The Venture Accelerator includes a rigorous needs-assessment and goal-setting process at the start of the program. Each organization will focus on a few key areas that will shape their growth. Participants will also receive individualized mentorship, tailored towards the key areas they’re working on, from UpStart’s broad network of advisors, funders, and alumni.
“UpStart has given me the tools to be an entrepreneur and run a business by identifying and understanding who we serve and the value we bring to our community. Open Temple has and continues to strengthen as an organization from the support of UpStart,” says Rabbi Lori Shapiro, founder and Artistic Director of The Open Temple in Venice, CA.
For the past 20 years, UpStart has partnered with the trailblazing leaders who are expanding the picture of how Jews find meaning and how we come together. UpStart works with entrepreneurs and established institutions like Federations and JCCs across the country, with hubs in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver/Boulder, with plans to establish more regional hubs nationally.
Round 1 of applications is open for only two weeks: October 4–18. Information about the Venture Accelerator program, including eligibility criteria, can be found at upstartlab.org/accelerator/. Applications are accepted from across the U.S. and beyond.