Impact Engine is a 16-week startup accelerator programme that supports early stage businesses that are addressing today’s societal and environmental challenges. The Chicago, U.S based accelerator is looking for for-profit companies that address either a societal or environmental challenge, from clean water to sustainable employment and beyond. The company’s main service or product should address the problem that the startup is trying to solve. Impact must be built into the company’s DNA so that interests are aligned with a potential investor’s interests. They do not accept buy-one-give-one businesses.As part of the program, startups receive $25,000 in upfront cash (in exchange for 7% equity in the company), one-on-one mentorship, business workshops and seminars, free workspace in Chicago’s co-working space 1871, access to accredited investors, pro bono legal services, and more. The applications are reviewed on overall idea, team, business model, profitability, and potential for impact.
Their second program runs from September 30th to January 31st. Applications are open till June 30th, 2013 11:59 p.m. CST.
Click here to read about the startups that were part of their first programme.
Social and Green startups from India:
“Yes, we accept applications from any country. We don’t sponsor out-of-country applicants, but we can help them sort through the necessary requirements to get a visa for the 16-week program”, said Elizabeth Riley, Program Manager at Impact Engine.
Key founders and employees must be present for the entirety of the program in Chicago. Entrepreneurs are allowed to use a portion of the seed capital to pay for their living expenses.
What startups that have been part of the first batch have to say about the accelerator:
“Impact Engine was a life-changing, and certainly, business-changing experience. ThinkCERCA could not have come as far as we have without the smart guidance we were able to get from Chuck, Elizabeth, all the directors, and the mentors who gave back through Impact Engine. Trying to be the change we want to see in the world is easier said than done, and having the strength of the Impact Engine community to keep us going propelled ThinkCERCA to build a team, attract investors, and make a better product.” – Eileen Murphy Murphy, CEO & Founder, ThinkCERCA
ThinkCERCA.com is a web-based platform that gives teachers the tools and content they need to create and deliver personalized critical thinking instruction for all students.
“Impact Engine recognized the significance in Portapure bringing clean water solutions to the billions that lack access to it, and invested many valuable resources needed for the launch of a newly refined product. Impact Engine’s user-centered design classes helped refine Portapure’s technology for easy use by consumers. With support of Impact Engine’s mentors, advisors and investment resources, Portapure has a tighter business plan, value proposition and a solid structure on which to grow the business in the future. Portapure is well-positioned for market expansion of PureLives-a gravity flow filtration technology that makes water from any lake, river, or stream safe to drink.” – George Page, CEO & Founder, Portapure
Portapure makes clean water available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. With its easy-to-use, patented technology, Portapure invents, designs, and manufactures affordable water filtration products for the developing world. Portapure enables households to provide clean water for their families and sustain clean water micro businesses for their communities.
“Impact Engine showed me what was possible. Over the course of the program, I was challenged on every aspect of my business and came out with a much stronger company and sharper point-of-view. The support and mentorship that I received through the program and fundraising process has been invaluable. Plus, its fun!” – Kathleen Wright, CEO & Founder, Collaborative Group.
Collaborative Group is a marketplace that connects retail brands with artisans in the developing world. They create collaborations that provide sustainable livelihoods to underserved populations and unique, socially impactful products to their brand partners.
How the accelerator helps startups
“We have an experienced team of past entrepreneurs running our program and on our board of directors. Chuck Templeton, our managing director, was the founder of OpenTable. As such, he has deep knowledge helping businesses think about scale. He’s also great at instilling leadership and helping startups build out their teams. In addition, we’ve got a world-class mentor and investor network with people in Chicago and beyond. In you participate in our programme, we’ll put you in touch with people who can truly help move your business forward, not just now, but in the years to come”, added Elizabeth Riley, Program Manager at Impact Engine.
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