There are several key problems with the current global incubator/accelerator “establishment”, mostly because the current system is still based on old economic theories of “shareholder primacy”.
1. Most incubators and accelerators are primarily focused on financial success with positive social impact viewed as a nice bonus or possibly a good marketing ploy. Female founders are even more affected by this because they have a greater tendency toward building businesses which also have a positive benefit to society, a contribution which is largely ignored by funders.
2. Conventional funding sources are heavily male dominated, and female founders either don’t get funded or have to give up greater equity than their male counterparts.
3. For-profit incubators define success as profitability, and non-profit models generally aren’t financially self-sustaining. In addition most incubators don’t support both for-profit and non-profit and as a result they are not in a position of suggesting that a founder switch business models or adopt a hybrid approach.
4. Girls in developing countries don’t have enough entrepreneurial and/or STEM role models, or enough general encouragement to get into these fields.
Hybrid, Agile, Networking, and Lean are the words which best describe our organization and our approach. We’re an NGO run by entrepreneurs and we’d rather spend our time empowering people, rather than chasing funding. If we don’t get the funding from Google or a similar amount elsewhere, our plan is to bootstrap this ourselves; it will simply take 3 years instead of 6 months to roll out.
The most unique element of our organization/network is that we’re philosophy driven; this is why we can attract so many highly talented and passionate volunteers, as well as partners from across the full spectrum of for-profit, non-profit, government, and academia. Spirit of the Game as a life philosophy provides all our network partners with an internal and external framework that frees them up to work for rewards other than just money, knowing that they are part of a community.
We’re also not afraid to take risks, because we know you can’t solve tomorrow’s problems using yesterday’s solutions.
Specifically we address the four problem above by:
1. Our Accelerators will focus on the entrepreneurs with the most passion, and the ideas which are most disruptive, and we’ll make them profitable BECAUSE of their positive impact on society, not in spite of it. Because we won’t have large financial investors who only care about quarterly growth, we’ll be able to support the businesses with the greatest long term potential to shape their industries.
2. We plan to use our rapidly growing global Impact Network to help founders avoid the need to take money from large investors who might not share their values or priorities. This will be done through leveraging our network to open up business opportunities as well as tapping into our social movement pillar for crowdfunding to raise those funds which are necessary for scaling.
As our brand becomes more established we’ll also address the problem of founders spending a disproportionate amount of their time on pitching by:
A)Doing targeted matchmaking, and
B)Having investors invest directly into our Accelerator instead of individual businesses.
3. We’re a non-profit run by entrepreneurs, so hybrid modeling is our specialty and Creative Impact is about creating value for society, and building a business model around that. Each of our Centers for Creative Impact will also have the option to go the for-profit, non-profit, or B Corp route after the grant is done.
4. We’ll have micro-learning modules for girls as well as virtual classes and events featuring female entrepreneurs and women in STEM.
We are applying for $2,000,000 in funding for a 24 month program.
$460,000 will be the two year budget for a Global Impact Accelerator for Female Entrepreneurs and Gender Equity Focused Business(businesses which might not have a majority of female founders but which do directly address gender equality in their core mission)
$1,540,000 will go toward 7 Centers for Creative Impact which will each cover a specific geographic area or language group
3 Language based centers: Spanish, French, Arabic
3 Geographic based centers: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe/US/Canada
$220,000 for 2 years is the average budget for each Center
The Centers will
To do all this, we’re going to need a lot of volunteers and partner organizations. Our goal is 100 people pledging to work at least 1 hour per week on this project on a pro bono basis as well as have as many partner organizations as possible signed on as supporters.
Here is a full video overview of these 4 pillars as well as a deeper explanation of the long term goals of the organization/movement.
If you have specific questions or suggestions about this grant or to join the Pledge, please email our Managing Director: Trent.SImmons@SpiritoftheGame.org