Hello! We’re so glad that you are applying for the Social Innovation Lab accelerator program. Before submitting an application, we encourage you to read our frequently asked questions.
Am I eligible to apply?
SIL is for individuals and teams that want to build ventures. Anyone over the age of 18 that lives in, is focused on, or plans to launch in the Baltimore area may apply (Johns Hopkins University affiliation is not required). This is open to both nonprofit and for-profit businesses.
How will I know I’m ready to apply?
We are looking for entrepreneurs who have been working on their idea for at least six months. We look for ventures who have already demonstrated some form of accomplishments, traction, or measurable impact, but may still be at the early stage. If this is a product, you should already have a prototype in development or completed.
Do I need to be incorporated by the time I submit my application?
No, but we do expect cohort members to develop a plan of incorporation and execute over the course of the accelerator program.
May I submit more than one application?
No. SIL looks for dedication and commitment, therefore we only want applicants that are fully committed to their venture and have made progress towards their projects.
What do we mean by social impact?
When we refer to “social impact,” we mean the measurable demonstration of value created to society as a result of a social innovation. Businesses create value for shareholders; social enterprises create financial and societal value. We support organizations who expect to have a positive social impact and the potential to sustainably deliver that impact over time. Review past SIL cohorts and examples of supported ventures here.
Does my venture have to focus on an issue in Baltimore?
Although your venture does not have to only focus on addressing an issue in Baltimore, we give priority to solutions that can succeed locally.
I am working on this venture alone. Can I still apply?
You may apply on your own, but applying with a team is encouraged. Although uniquely talented individuals may achieve success independently, a team of individuals and/or a coalition of partner organizations working together effectively is more likely to demonstrate leadership ability and likelihood of success. If you do not currently have team members, please do not be discouraged from applying: SIL can help you form a team, build partnerships, and improve your potential for success.
How long is the accelerator? When will it start and end?
The SIL accelerator program will begin in late fall and end in May. Fellows will be notified of the official start date once selected. SIL’s anticipated timeline for the upcoming cycle can be found here.
Is the program in-person or virtual? What is the expected time commitment?
The program alternates between weekly online and in-person two hour sessions that take place at the Johns Hopkins FastForward U co-working space (320 W 29th St #200, Baltimore, MD 21211). It is required that at least one team member with decision-making authority in the company be present for all in-person sessions, ad-hoc networking events and our in-person final showcase. Historically, teams spend a minimum of 10 hours per week on venture-related activities.
What resources does the Social Innovation Lab accelerator provide?
We offer weekly workshops led by social entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to help you further develop your social enterprise. Selected participants will also receive unlimited access to the FastForward U coworking space, one-on-one mentorship and introductions to relevant mentors and ecosystem partners. All teams receive $5,000 in non-dilutive funding and an opportunity to win up to $20,000 in prize money at the end of the accelerator.
How does the review process work and when will I find out if I’ve been accepted?
- Applications will be reviewed by a committee, which will score the applications based on what you provide. These scores will decide which candidates are selected to interview.
- Interviews will be conducted by the committee during business hours between the second and third week of October. Candidates may be asked to provide additional documentation to support the selection process.
- Interviewed candidates will be notified of our final decision by the first week of November 2023.
- Those accepted will receive follow-on communications including specific onboarding instructions to best prepare them for the start of the program in early November.
If I’m not selected, can I get feedback from the reviewers on my application?
Those who make it to the interview rounds will have the opportunity to meet with the SIL Program Director to gain feedback on their application. This is a great opportunity to share resources, make connections, and prepare for applications to this or future programs.
I want to upload a Youtube video for my application. How do I do that?