Now Accepting Nonprofit Applications for the Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator

Aug 03, 2020

By Taylor McLemore, Managing Director of the Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator

The Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator is excited to open applications to select two nonprofit organizations for participation in the 2020 accelerator program. The application and selection process will be led by program partner Colorado Thrives and supported by Techstars. Applications are open from August 3rd, 2020 until August, 28th, 2020. 

Including nonprofit organizations in a Techstars accelerator is not unprecedented, but it is uncommon. We are excited to work with two select nonprofit organizations for three main reasons:

1. The Impact Thesis

Techstars Workforce Development and our program partners including Colorado Thrives, ZOMA Capital, and Strada Education Network, all believe in the importance of market-driven investment, impact-focused investment, and philanthropy. A spectrum of funding is needed to support bold, systemic change in workforce development.

2. Complex Problems Require Creative Solutions From Diverse Perspectives

This program joins the community of organizations and individuals who have been working on workforce development for years. Workforce development solutions come from many sectors including for-profit, nonprofit, government, and intermediary spaces.

We believe it’s important to support organizations across the corporate spectrum so that problems can be tackled from a variety of angles. No one can do it alone, and the diversity of our accelerator class will increase the probability of entrepreneurs building high-impact solutions for people in the US labor markets. 

3. Scalable Solutions Drive Maximum Impact

Nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies in the Workforce Development space alike are working towards human-centric visions of impact that create a more inclusive, successful, diverse, productive, and fully employed world.

Techstars supports founders on their journey to create value at scale, and we are using that lens to select for-profit and nonprofits for this program. In the for-profit model, value at scale is commonly rewarded with market valuations, raising capital, profitability, and exits. In the nonprofit space, nonprofit organizations can and are embracing business model innovation and technology leverage in building earned income streams to deliver sustainable impact to people at scale. 

And that’s what we are excited about: finding nonprofit organizations that are looking for the opportunity to create momentum and acceleration out of a program like ours, learning from the mentor-driven accelerator model, so that they can push forward their impact-driven mission. 

For more information, register for our Ask Me Anything on August 11th at 1:30 MT to learn about the nonprofit application process and what to expect from the accelerator experience. If you’re unable to attend, a replay of the event will be available afterwards accessible via the same link.



What will going through the accelerator be like?

 The 13 week accelerator is divided into three sections: 

  • Month 1 - Mentor Engagement (meeting the 100+ mentors, and mutually opting in to work closely with 2-5)

  • Month 2 - Execution and Growth (running experiments, learning from mentors and workshops)

  • Month 3 - Storytelling and prep for Demo Day (finding the best way to tell the story of your organization, preparing for our Demo Day event on February 11, 2021)

During the program, a typical week includes:

  • Office Hours with Mentors and Experts

  • 1:1’s with Managing Director 

  • All-Hands KPI Accountability Session

  • Founder Stories from Serial Entrepreneurs and Alumni

  • Workshops and Presentations from Experts 

  • Pitch Practice (prep for Demo Day)

  • Work, Work, Work, Build, Build, Build!

Will there be funding in exchange for nonprofit participation? 

No, accepted nonprofit organizations will not receive funding. While Techstars invests capital in for-profit companies, nonprofits will receive the points of greatest value from Techstars accelerators program:

  • Allie (Program Manager), and I (Managing Director) and will be rolling up our sleeves to make sure you get as much traction as possible by helping you leverage the Techstars Network and our personal connections

  • The program's Corporate Sponsors (Strada Education Network, Colorado Thrives, and ZOMA Capital) are engaged with the program to support our companies 

  • Mentors involved in this program (100+ investors, builders, and subject matter experts both in the workforce development/education space and in starting organizations) believe in #GiveFirst and supporting founders

  • Lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network, including more than 8,000+ active mentors, 14,000+ investors, 2,300+ alumni companies, 5,000+ founders, 100+ corporate partners, and over 200 staff members

  • Demo Day visibility and other connections

Will Techstars help us raise money?

Similar to any company that participates in our accelerator, we will support the nonprofits through our network, our mentors, and our partners, but it is about how people going through the program build relationships across those networks that unlocks resources. 

Though we can not guarantee a successful fundraise for either for-profit or nonprofit participants, it is our job to act as a partner to you in your objectives. We will support to the very best of our ability and open as many doors as possible. 

Where can nonprofits apply?

Techstars Workforce Development Accelerator Nonprofit Application