COVID-19 / Incubators / Startups

How Halcyon Incubator plans to run its fall program with social distancing in mind

Eight ventures have been invited to work with the Georgetown-based incubator over the next 18 months, which includes a rent-free residency stage, and six ventures have been selected for the Halcyon Arts Lab fellowship.

Halcyon is still fostering collaboration. (Courtesy photo)

Georgetown-based Halcyon Incubator, an incubator for early-stage social impact entrepreneurs, is welcoming its 13th cohort this fall as it plans to keep some social distancing habits intact to fight COVID-19.

Eight ventures have been selected to scale their businesses with Halcyon’s guidance and resources over an 18-month fellowship. The incubator is also running a five-month Arts Lab fellowship and six ventures have been selected to participate in the fourth cohort of that program.

Halcyon CIO Ryan Ross told that the application process for the incubator’s 13th cohort turned out to be as strong as ever.

“Although the pandemic has affected so many parts of our lives, social entrepreneurs are perhaps more critical than ever, and we saw 400 social enterprises trying to take that next step with our program,” Ross said. “Our review process was unaffected, as it has always been done virtually, so as to accommodate people from around the world.”

Halcyon’s fellowship is split into two stages. The first is the residency stage, where fellows will get rent-free housing, a $10,000 stipend and access to mentors, advisors and supporters to scale their ventures. This stage will conclude with a final demo day where the entrepreneurs will pitch their ventures to an audience of investors and funders. In the second stage of the program, a 13-month post-residency, entrepreneurs will continue to have free access to Halcyon resources to expand their networks and secure funding.

Ross said these new cohorts will continue to live at Halcyon for the residential portion, and the organization will continue to closely monitoring local and federal recommendations to ensure that the safety of the fellows and Halcyon team is prioritized.

“This cohort will certainly be different, but we are very confident that whether we spend more time in person or virtually, we’ll be able to support these fellows during their journey with Halcyon,” he said. “We’ll be ready with contingency plans to shift virtually should the situation require it.”

Ross said the experience for these fellows will be a little different. As Halcyon amps up cleaning and sanitation at the incubator space, there will be limits on how many fellows can use each space at a time and masks will be required throughout the building.

“Here’s the fundamental reason to move forward with this September’s cohort in spite of challenges: Social entrepreneurs are more critical than ever. Our world is moving rapidly into an era where the impact of a startup on its community and the world is critical to its success,” Ross explained. “So while it may seem like a strange time to start a fellowship, to us it’s perfect, and our whole community looks forward to supporting these new arrivals and getting to know them.”

Here’s a look at the participants for Halcyon’s fall incubator class:

  • Rachel Zayas from Active Genomes Expressed (AGED) Diagnostics
  • Allister Chang from Civic Suds
  • Franc Kamugyisha from EcoPlastile
  • Samlara Baah from Loo Works
  • Peter Wang Hjemdahl, Svanika Balasubramanian, Aditya Siroya from rePurpose Global
  • Ahva Sadeghi and Nikita Gupta from Symba
  • Natalia Mykhaylova from WeavAir
  • Miranda Phua from ZigWay

For descriptions of these ventures and more on the Arts Lab fellows, check out Halcyon’s website.

Throughout the pandemic, Halcyon has also continued to deliver monthly programming for its Opportunity Intensive fellows, who are part of a program that launched in January as a tailored version of the nonprofit’s prominent 18-month incubator program. They will present at a showcase of their own at the end of 2020. Halcyon is also still hosting its By The People x Monochrome Collective Art Fair virtually through July 12.

Companies: Halcyon
Series: Coronavirus

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