Accelerators / Philanthropy

These 28 social enterprises will take part in Innovation Works’ first accelerator

The three-day event, which includes programming and connections to mentors, is scheduled for June 18 to 20.

Inside a 2019 Innovation Works program. (Courtesy photo)

A recently launched program seeking to catalyze social enterprises in Baltimore named a cohort for  first three-day business accelerator that’s set to take place this month.

Innovation Works’ GBSI Boost Business program, which is being held for the first time, will provide 28 social enterprises with mentorship and programming centered around strategic thinking and presenting business plans to demonstrate impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

It’s based on methodology, called Global Social Benefit Institute, developed by the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in California. Meanwhile, the mentorship is provided by a group of more than 20 local business leaders. The program will take place from June 18 to 20 at Cylburn Arboretum and Impact Hub Baltimore.

Innovation Works and the Miller Center launched a partnership earlier this year with the goal of creating 5,000 jobs and attracting $100 million in investment. The combination of curriculum and mentorship has been key to the Miller Center’s model of helping social enterprises scale in countries around the world.

“Our primary focus is on the communities and Baltimore residents not currently connected to the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Baltimore,” Frank Knott, founder and president of Innovation Works, said in a statement. “We believe that there are ideas germinating from economically distressed neighborhoods worth exploring and investing in, especially with a social enterprise model with an eye for long term sustainability.”

Through the partnership, Innovation Works is offering multi-tiered programming. The accelerator is designed for the third stage, which focuses on organizations already in existence and working in communities. Following the three-day session, the enterprises will have an opportunity to participate in a more advanced online program, which also offers mentorship and provides support with financial modeling and growth.

Here’s a look at the cohort:

  • Art with a Heart, which provides consistent art programming for underserved children and residents
  • Baltimore Corps, the organization enlisting talent for social innovation and advancing an equity and racial justice agenda in the city
  • Beat the Streets — Baltimore, which provides disadvantaged youth with a positive environment to nurture physical and mental development
  • Busy Bee’s Child Care Center, which provides a learning environment for children to grow through supporting the whole family and community
  • The Chill Station, focused on economic mobility for formerly incarcerated men and women returning to communities
  • CityFam, which connects people with purpose through volunteerism, social events and a support system
  • CLLCTIVLY, which seeks to end fragmentation and program duplication of Black-led organizations working for social change
  • diyRealty Inc., which is looking to innovate housing supply chain economics to increase affordable housing quality, supply, and choice
  • DMG Foods, which combines social service and a grocery shopping experience to expand food availability in the community
  • Esperanza Center, which welcomes immigrants by offering compassionate services and the power to improve their lives
  • Fancy Free Hair & Skin, provides personal care products free of harsh chemicals
  • Fenly, a platform to support virtual food drives and online fundraisers for food banks
  • FranciePants, which employs crowd manufacturing providing access to training and work while making garments
  • Franciscan Center, which provides emergency assistance and supportive outreach
  • FullBlast STEAM, which creates programs and products to encourage STEAM education
  • Gallagher Services, which supports adults with disabilities
  • Garwyn Oaks Northwest Housing Resource Center, which equips residents to “obtain, maintain and retain” their homes
  • Global Air Media, the drone technology company offering aerial services and education
  • Mikey’s Miracle Foundation, which helps patients and families live healthy and productive lives in the fight against cancer
  • MissionFit, which aims to strengthen the mind, body and community of Baltimore youth
  • My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, which provides women with pathways to increased income, improved health, sustainable housing and community integration
  • OA Sports, which aims to make sporting goods more affordable for youth
  • Our Daily Bread Employment Center provides a hot meal daily, as well as services including legal services, health care, employment opportunities and government benefits.
  • Oyin Handmade, which manufactures personal care products
  • The Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm, inspiring a community around cleaner, greener foods
  • Safe Alternative Foundation for Education (S.A.F.E.), which assists middle school students in West Baltimore through educational programming and vocational exposure
  • St. Edward’s Workforce Development Center, which provides job placement and career development in Southwest Baltimore
  • St. Francis Neighborhood Center, which serves as a resource and catalyst in Reservoir Hill

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