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The Points of Light Civic Accelerator – the first national accelerator dedicated to investing in civic ventures – announced the 12 ventures selected to participate in its spring 2018 program. The ventures come from across the country and include early-stage for-profits and nonprofits focused on bridging the digital divide and filling the growing digital talent pipeline.
With founding supporters, the PwC Charitable Foundation Inc. and Starbucks Foundation, along with Capital One, Vodafone Americas Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, Dentons, Singing for Change, and hotel sponsor Hilton, the Points of Light Civic Accelerator kicks off its spring cohort with ventures working to advance digital inclusion and 21st-century tech skills for all to succeed in the innovation economy. This will be the 11th cohort of the Civic Accelerator since its founding in 2012.
The 12 teams will gather in San Francisco from April 17-20 for the start of an intensive, 10-week entrepreneur boot camp that includes mentoring, education, peer support and networking. The teams will join the first ever SEED Conference of impact investors while in San Francisco. They will then travel to New York and Atlanta. Points of Light will offer two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves – a $50,000 investment following the conclusion of the program.
“We are excited to support, along with our funders and partners, such promising ventures increasing digital skills and access to new economy jobs,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator. “Nearly 80 percent of middle-skill jobs require basic digital proficiency and we have 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide, yet we produced fewer than 43,000 computer science graduates last year. Our ventures provide a wide range of solutions from K-12 STEM education and technical up-skilling for working adults to affordable access and digital services. To truly unleash the talent across the country and transform our economy, we need these ventures to scale their bold solutions that are bridging the digital divide and preparing the workforce of the future.”
Application and selection committees reviewed more than 65 curated applications before selecting the finalists. The selected cohort of ventures represents various sectors and solutions to increase employability and access to digital services for youth and adults across gender, class, race and geographies. Fifty-four percent of the ventures are led or co-led by racial or ethnic minorities, and 69 percent are led or co-led by females.
The civic startups participating in the Civic Accelerator spring 2018 cohort represent California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Washington, and Washington, D.C:
Cell-Ed For-profit (Palo Alto, California) – offers a complete mobile solution to reach, train and upskill today’s workforce on any mobile device, including flip phones.
ELiTE Education Nonprofit (New York) – increases public schools’ capacity to integrate rigorous and engaging computer science and engineering programs as a part of their culture and curriculum.
Haven Connect For-profit (Berkeley, California) – allows low-income applicants to easily find and apply to affordable housing through streamlined leasing and waitlist management.
honorCode Nonprofit (Atlanta) – coalesces educators and local business communities to build future workforce ecosystems within K-12 schools.
Neture Inc. For-profit (New York) – provides free and low-cost broadband internet access to underserved communities and disconnected households.
Noirefy For-profit (Chicago) – is a digital platform connecting diverse professionals from under-represented backgrounds to corporations for career advancement opportunities.
Sparrow For-profit (San Francisco) – is a U.S. wireless company bridging the digital divide and connecting people with purpose by donating to someone in digital poverty for every new customer.
STEM NOLA Nonprofit (New Orleans) – designs and delivers engaging educational programs and events that bring exposure, inspiration and training in STEM to underserved communities.
Tech Exchange Nonprofit (Oakland, California) – generates equitable technology access by providing community members refurbished computers, internet, training and tech support.
The Mentor Method For-profit (Washington, D.C.) – is an all-inclusive system for better diversity and inclusion through mentorship.
Unloop Nonprofit (Seattle) – enables people who have been in prison to succeed in careers in tech through intensive software development training, re-entry support, and career opportunities with tech employers.
Young Creative Agency Nonprofit (New Orleans) – connects under-represented young talent to real-world work and support networks that increase inclusion in the creative economy.
About Points of Light
Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 5 million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people to bear where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.
About the Points of Light Civic Accelerator
The Points of Light Civic Accelerator is the first accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on civic ventures – for-profit and nonprofit startups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems. The three-month, boot camp-style program convenes 10-15 teams in person and online with the goal of equipping each startup to seek investments and scale their social innovation. CivicX was launched in 2012, with support from founding partners PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, and in partnership with Village Capital. In addition, we receive support from Capital One, Vodafone, Dentons, Singing for Change and official hotel sponsor Hilton. Visit cvcx.org for more information or follow the accelerator on Twitter at @civicacceleratr and across social media at #CIVICX.
"To truly unleash the talent across the country and transform our economy, we need these ventures to scale their bold solutions that are bridging the digital divide and preparing the workforce of the future,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator.
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