Rob Katz

Pop!Tech – Social Innovation Accelerator Launched

PopTech Social Innovation AcceleratorToday at Pop!Tech, curator Andrew Zolli announced the launch of the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Accelerator.? I’ll have most of the official press release copied below, but I also want to add my 2 cents.

First of all, this is a great idea, though it isn’t the first “social innovation accelerator.”? Santa Clara University has its excellent Global Social Benefit Incubator, for example.? Ashoka calls itself a social enterprise accelerator.? WRI’s New Ventures program is essentially a sustainable enterprise accelerator.? Acumen Fund incubates social innovators that deliver services to the BOP, of course.?OK, so the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Accelerator is not necessarily “one of a kind” per se.? That said, if it can leverage the awesome Pop!Tech network to help push BOP enterprises forward, then it will be a success.? So, without further ado, details on the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Accelerator:


Pop!Tech, ( the leading social innovation network and thought-leadership forum, today announced the launch of the Pop!Tech Accelerator, a new entity designed to incubate world-changing projects in development, healthcare, energy, education, culture, and the use of technology to achieve transformational outcomes.

Rooted in the unique resources of one of the world’s leading thought leadership networks, the Pop!Tech Accelerator offers a unique collaboration platform where individuals, companies, philanthropic organizations and others can work together on high-potential social change projects.

?Pop!Tech is committed to accelerating the impact of world-changing people and ideas,? said Andrew Zolli, Pop!Tech’s Curator. ?The Pop!Tech Accelerator is at the core of this commitment.?

For each project it supports, the Pop!Tech Accelerator will provide operational and project management support. It will also solicit the human resources from the Pop!Tech network, corporate partnerships, financial contributions, foundation grants and the skills and media training required to transform each project into a sustainable enterprise. Pop!Tech Accelerator projects may result in non-profit or for-profit ventures, open-source initiatives or other structures.

The Pop!Tech Accelerator will select projects which:
? embody a highly-differentiated, innovative, multi-disciplinary and potentially world-changing approach to a consequential global problem
? will benefit from the unique skills of the Pop!Tech network
? have a very high degree of social impact
? amplify the skill-sets of the social innovators involved in doing the work
? leverage a ?bottom up? community of participants (through open-source licensing, for example)
? engage the intended community of use’s participation in the solution
? have a clear path to becoming a functioning enterprise

The Pop!Tech Accelerator will give special consideration to concepts that arise authentically from Pop!Tech’s network. In addition to producing each project’s ended social change, projects will be featured at the annual Pop!Tech conference, and will be thoroughly documented, enabling participants to track the work as it progresses.

The Pop!Tech Accelerator will be governed by Pop!Tech’s Board of Directors and advised by a group of renowned social innovation experts. These include Bunker Roy, one of the world’s foremost social innovators and founder of the Barefoot College in rural Rajasthan, India. The organization has trained hundreds of technicians?women, dropouts and unemployable youths?in remote villages in 13 Indian states over the past 30 years through a self-help model that respects local knowledge and capability and promotes local organizations to make community decisions.

Also joining the Advisory Board is Clara Miller, President and CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a national leader in helping nonprofits strengthen their financial health and improve their capacity to serve their communities. Ms. Miller is among the United States? most esteemed leaders on financing nonprofit social ventures.