This story originally appeared in our May 5, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Incubators and accelerators can assist start-up social entrepreneurs to make key connections, raise funds and get great advice. We look at five programs that provide these tools.

1. Echoing Green (Global)

An incubator for founders of start-up organizations, this two-year fellowship provides a grant of US$60,000 (INR 2.7m) for individuals and US$90,000 (INR 3.9m) for two-person partnerships that is paid in four equal installments over two years. The fellowship also includes stipends for health insurance and professional development.

2. Unreasonable Institute (Global)

This all-expenses-paid summer fellowship brings together 25 entrepreneurs from around the world to work and live with 60 mentors including Acumen Fund, First Light Ventures and Good Capital. During the program, fellows will receive legal services, skills training and consulting. At the end of the institute, fellows will pitch their ideas to investors and foundations.


3. Rainer Arnhold Fellowship (Global)

This two-year fellowship aims to find and support entrepreneurs who have solutions to “big problems in health, poverty, and conservation in the Third World.” The fellowship includes a weeklong ‘design-for-scalability’ course with a formal redesign of the model every six months, mentoring, facilitated networking and a US$10,000 (INR 440,000) annual stipend.


4. Umbono (South Africa)

This new technology incubator from Google is only active in South Africa for the time being. Participation includes free office space and internet bandwidth for six months as well as funding – a minimum of US$25,000 (INR 1.1m) and a maximum of US$50,000 (INR 2.2m) – from angel investors and Google. Teams will also receive mentoring from Google’s network.


5. UnLtd India (India)

This yearlong program, based in Mumbai, offers seed funding, coaching and training and networking. UnLtd India has developed three different support levels from entrepreneurs wishing to keep their day jobs to enterprises that are looking to grow. The funding varies from INR 80,000 (US$1,800) at the first level to up to INR 2,000,000 (US$45,000) at the third level.

Photo credits: Echoing Green, Unreasonable Institute, Rainer Arnhold Fellowship, Umbono and UnLtd India

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  1. Josh Kwan Said,

    May 7, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    For social entrepreneurs compelled by their Christian faith to serve others in need and advance the common good, check out Praxis — a new accelerator program that helps high-impact organizations.

    We connect our Fellows to world-class mentors, who offer tailored advice over 3 intimate events. We provide the knowledge and networks for social entrepreneurs to succeed. The 12 organizations in the Praxis Accelerator have a shot at winning 3 prizes worth $100k in cash.

    Take a look at — deadline to apply is July 15, 2011.

  2. Social Enterprise Associates Said,

    May 10, 2011 @ 9:21 am

    Check out Social Enterprise Associates’ working paper “Small Business Incubation and its Prospects in Indian Country” at It examines the prospect of a small business incubation system being used in native lands in order to further small business growth and sustainability. More publications at

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