Finding New Ways to Solve Old Problems

May 15, 2014

With new approaches, the 14 startups participating in the spring 2014 Points of Light Civic Accelerator are addressing some of society’s greatest challenges, including homelessness, hunger and access to education.

civicx_spring_2014_for_blog_2_resized.jpgNzinga West, standing, of Project SYNCERE shares the venture’s challenges and opportunities with the Starbucks Digital and Foundation Teams in Seattle.

Points of Light recently gathered the budding enterprises, both nonprofit and for-profit, to kick off the fourth Civic Accelerator – an intensive, 12-week startup boot camp that includes mentoring, entrepreneur education, peer support and networking. Points of Light will offer two of the most promising ventures – as selected by the entrepreneurs themselves – a $50,000 investment after the program wraps up in Atlanta in June.

In late April, we held the first session of the spring program at Impact Hub Seattle. The 14 startups came together for peer review, problem solving and business fundamentals coaching from leading industry experts such as Smallify CEO David Viotti, the Starbucks Digital Team and local investors.

If you’re interested in participating in the next round of the Civic Accelerator please email [email protected]. In the meantime, check out our spring 2014 class:

  • Accountability Lab (Washington, D.C., nonprofit) The Accountability Lab empowers citizens to fight corruption and promote accountability though media and innovation in the developing world.
  • Catalysts by Design (St. Louis, nonprofit) Catalysts by Design is a network of social design organizations that partner with communities and organizations to resolve critical social challenges.
  • City Pioneers (Atlanta, hybrid) City Pioneers strengthens cities by connecting local public organizations with hometown talent to solve city challenges and to create an ecosystem of public entrepreneurs.
  • Code2040 (San Francisco, nonprofit) CODE2040 creates pathways to success for blacks and Latino/as in the innovation economy, with a focus on the critical transition from learning to earning.
  • eatiply (Minneapolis, hybrid) Eatiply is a cause marketing platform that sustainably fights hunger while providing businesses and nonprofits a valuable marketing solution.
  • Edgeflip (Chicago, for-profit) Edgeflip uses technology and analytics to accelerate the influence of nonprofits, advocacy groups and other social good organizations.
  • Food Recovery Network (College Park, Md., nonprofit) Food Recovery Network empowers students to recover food from colleges that would otherwise be wasted and donate it to hungry Americans.
  • Piggybackr (San Francisco, for-profit) Piggybackr teaches teams of all ages and experience levels how to crowdfund.
  • Project SYNCERE (Chicago, nonprofit) Project SYNCERE is a STEM enrichment program for underrepresented students in grades four through 12.
  • SEMADevelopment (Atlanta, hybrid) SEMADevelopment sells community-created mobile app games to raise money for nonprofit organizations.
  • tinyGive (Washington, D.C., for-profit) tinyGive is a micro-philanthropy platform that enables individuals to support causes and social good organizations through simple, social and meaningful actions.
  • UrbnEarth (San Francisco, for-profit) UrbnEarth makes guided gardening kits that empower everyone to experience the health benefits of homegrown food.
  • WorkReadyGrad (Atlanta, for-profit) WorkReadyGrad enables students to proactively acquire the right skills, experiences and mentors to reach their career potential.
  • Zealous Good (Chicago, for-profit) Zealous Good connects people and companies with excess items to local charities with matching needs.

The Points of Light Civic Accelerator was launched in 2012, in partnership with Village Capital, and receives generous support from PwC Charitable Foundation and Starbucks Foundation, both founding partners, and from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, SAP and the accelerator’s official hotel sponsor, Hilton Worldwide.