01 May Prepare for (social) impact: StartingBlock cohort prepares to level up social change
Eleven teams of entrepreneurs, many of them local, will soon take their social entrepreneurship endeavors to the next level as part of StartingBlock’s 2021 Social Impact Cohort, the startup accelerator announced last Friday. Their missions range from expanding opportunities for people with disabilities to helping corporations diversify their executive suites.
The teams will receive free office space for six months at the organization’s E. Washington building, plus classes and mentorship from experts from StartingBlock, Associated Bank and the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact to help them refine their pitches, develop business plans and strategize to achieve the social changes they’re aiming for.
“The Social Impact Cohort allows entrepreneurs to be a part of the StartingBlock entrepreneurial ecosystem, to access our community and partners, and to use those tools, relationships, and expertise to accomplish their goals and affect meaningful change in Wisconsin and beyond,” StartingBlock Executive Director Nora Roughen-Schmidt said in a press release.
“It is thrilling to see the roster of participants this year — so many great ideas and opportunities for impact.”
It’s the third time the organization has run the program, and the first time it’s taking place virtually. Previous cohorts featured mandatory in-person meetings at the organization’s campus, which limited participation to those within driving distance of Madison.
The virtual version offered a chance to reach entrepreneurs in other parts of the state, said community manager and project lead Marc Yarmoff, explaining that the organization remains focused on Wisconsin. But despite recruiting only within the Dairy State, the organization received applicants from across the country, so the cohort features a few entrepreneurs from the East and West Coasts, too.