Through the Social Good Accelerator, Collaboration For Good, Inc. founder and executive director Alnisa Allgood wants to remind entrepreneurs it is possible to address social justice issues and better their community while still making a living.
Started in 2017, the Social Good Accelerator is a free, three-year program through Collaboration For Good, Inc. that aims to provide individualized assistance to BIPOC and women entrepreneurs who want to expand prosperity for their communities. The 2021 cohort is accepting applications until April 9, and will award spots to a maximum of 25 ventures.
“America as a nation is so dependent on the nonprofit sector to serve as a safety net for everybody and yet it’s highly underfunded across the board,” Allgood told Madison365. “Corporations get way more in grants and money and incentives than nonprofits do; yet, nonprofits are supposed to be there for people when they fall on hard times.”
And this perception is not associated only with nonprofits but other organizations or businesses that focus on the social good, she said.
The accelerator has mentored roughly 85 founders guiding nonprofits, for-profit ventures and cooperative models of businesses. It has grown in scope, and focus. The accelerator intentionally targets BIPOC and women who want to build something here in Madison that is a force for social good, she said. Facilitators and coaches will guide the entrepreneurs through the real and artificial barriers that exist when starting a business, she said.
For example, Allgood said, creditors will ask for a business plan before awarding aid to a BIPOC entrepreneur.
“It’s not to say that you don’t occasionally need a business plan because eventually, you will have to have a business plan but (the creditor) overlooks that a large number of businesses typically don’t have an official business plan until three to five years into their business.
“And so it’s just a barrier; they just don’t want to talk to you because you’re a Black, Brown entrepreneur and they don’t believe in whatever it is that you will be able to succeed based off of their definition,” Allgood adds.
Allgood said the application is intentionally simple with four basic questions and each applicant will get a follow-up phone call to have a conversation about their venture.
Accepted applicants can expect 10-12 weeks of an upfront time commitment which will include sessions like “Storytelling for Impact,” and “The Art of the Deal.”
Then, entrepreneurs will get personalized coaching from other business professionals. Allgood, Annette Miller from EQT by Design and Preston Austin from Rabble, Horizon Coworking will be the facilitators.
As a nonprofit leader who is the driving force behind events like Nonprofit Draft Day, a founder of the LGBT Center at the University of Madison-Campus, and named one of the top 25 nonprofit technology influencers in the United States by BizTech Magazine with her company Nonprofit Tech, Allgood has seen her share of accelerator programs and been to her share of businesses conferences. This accelerator addresses another concern, Allgood said, that Madison-grown businesses often leave Madison.
“I just remember being at Forward Fest, which is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival, and they were always bringing in all of these highlighted and featured corporations and my biggest thought is: ‘but they’re not here anymore,’” she said. “As soon as they got any type of capital investment, that investment came with leaving Madison.”
“It’s great that they’re doing so well and that they’re now worth $100 million or $10 million or $250 million but they’re worth that somewhere else,” she later added. “It grows Madison’s reputation but it doesn’t actually grow any type of benefit to the community when that happens.”
Although the accelerator is competitive, Allgood still encourages people to apply because even if the venture is not accepted, the team is available to provide resources and guidance to entrepreneurs. Allgood said in the last month she has had 45 individual meetings with entrepreneurs just seeking information.
To apply for the accelerator, click here. For questions and resources, contact 608-241-3616 or email@example.com.