About the Equitable Innovations Accelerator
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator (EIA) with support from the Washington State Department of Commerce is a first-of-its-kind program fueling the start-up community at the earliest stage of business development. It aims to make “entrepreneurship for all” a reality by prioritizing entrepreneurs from historically marginalized communities. The EIA will provide 10 tech start-ups with up to $100K in non-dilutive philanthropic grants, programming, and access to mentors and coaches.
Founders accepted into this program from potential venture-scale tech startups will demonstrate their diverse executive leadership, will have a minimum viable product or a product representing tech transfers from Washington-based research institutions, will be under $1 million in annual revenue, and headquartered in Washington.
Want more information? Watch our recorded info sessions.
Our programming team held two Q&A sessions with an overview of the Equitable Innovations Accelerator. We answered questions about the application, the program, and other topics. To watch or read check out the links below.
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Funding for the Equitable Innovations Accelerator’s Fund is currently being secured from private donors and will be distributed to start-up founders throughout the accelerator program in 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Goals + Program
Why did you create the Equitable Innovations Accelerator?
Find Ventures and the Washington State Department of Commerce share a vision and passion to create a world where all entrepreneurs, regardless of ethnicity, gender, ability, or sexual orientation, have an equitable opportunity in building companies and a confident shot at solving our greatest challenges. Yet, access to first financing rounds is difficult for a brand-new founder, especially if they are women, Black, Latin, Indigenous, people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ or non- binary, and verges on impossible for those without connections to mentors, investors, talent and resources.
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator is the solution to clear this roadblock and fuel a diverse cohort of start-up founders at the earliest stage of business development.
What are the benefits of participating in the Equitable Innovations Accelerator program?
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator starts an unprecedented program to provide 10 tech startups with up to $100K in philanthropic grants, startup programming, and access to mentors/ coaches to enable them to equitable pursue their business goals. Philanthropic support for the first Equitable Innovations Accelerator cohorts will be returned repeatedly, as successful founders/startups are encouraged to pay it forward and invest in the Find Ventures Fund by signing a non-binding pledge to support the future cohorts when they reach Series B or sustainable revenue.
Who is eligible to apply?
The ideal participant of the Equitable Innovations Accelerator will be the founder or CEO of potential venture-scale tech startup that:
- Has at least one founder that is Black, Latinx, Native American, female/non- binary, disabled, a veteran, refugee, and/or LGBTQ;
- Has a team or a co-founder;
- Has a product or service that is at least a Minimum Viable Product. We will also consider products/services representing tech transfer from WA-based research institutions;
- Has a technology-based product or service, or a tech-enabled product or
service serving any of Washington’s vital business sectors (maritime, aerospace, agriculture, manufacturing, etc);
- Is below $1M in annual revenue or below;
- Is headquartered in Washington, with a preference for startups located in rural areas.
Why up to $100K for a pre-seed investment?
It has been shown that this level of pre-seed investment allows for businesses to reach significant milestones such as product development, or customer acquisition as example, that make them well-positioned to grow and secure follow-on funding (if needed).
How do I apply? When will I find out if I am selected as a cohort participant?
Applications will be accepted from Thursday, November 18, 2021 until Monday, January 31, 2022 on the F6s platform, found here. Our team will review applicants and inform selected semi-finalists on February 15, 2022; semi-finalists will be invited to provide further information and interview with program team. Final cohort determinations will be made by March 18th, 2022. Programming for the Equitable Innovations Accelerator will begin in April and continue throughout 2022.
How do you choose which companies to accept into the program?
Our review committee will select applicants that best meet the goals of the Equitable Innovations Accelerator project. We specifically seek venture-scale tech startups that have a technology-based product or service, or a tech-enabled product or service serving any of Washington’s vital business sectors, and will be headquartered in Washington, with a preference for startups located in rural areas.
My company is not based in Washington. Can I apply?
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator seeks to broadly support start-up tech companies in Washington, specifically those from diverse founders and those in rural communities.
My company is not founded by a woman or person of color. Can I apply?
The Equitable Innovations Accelerator seeks to support venture-scale tech startups that have a technology-based product or service, or a tech-enabled product or service serving any of Washington’s vital business sectors. While we are prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses for this program, we actively encourage all companies with underrepresented founders that could benefit from the program to apply.
How can I find out more about the Equitable Innovations Accelerator?
Find Ventures will be holding two Q&A events for potential applicants:
Written reports of the questions and answers as well as the recorded events can be watched at https://www.findventures.org/equitable-innovator-accelerator/ following the event.