What new external channels can social impact accelerators use to increase application numbers and diversity to their programs?

 

One of the major challenges that accelerators face is identifying high-quality applicants for their programs.

Part 1 of our Path to Entrepreneur series shares an overview of effective channels for sourcing social entrepreneurs. At the Accelerating the Accelerators session at SOCAP15 we talked to over 45 programs in 17 countries about the channels of communication used for finding the right entrepreneurs for their programs. Program leaders shared over 100 channels they use for sourcing entrepreneurs. Our hope is that you can learn from these channels and apply the insights gained to your recruitment process. In addition, social entrepreneurs can use these channels to help them better navigate the impact accelerator ecosystem.  The infographic below provides an overview of the summaries of this session.

At the session, many programs reported relying mainly on internal communication channels including referrals from alumni, mentors, staff, investors, and other programs.  The internal referrals inevitably led to the highest quality applicants as mentors, alumni, staff, and investors are intimately familiar with the strengths and weakness of the program with which they are associated and are thus better prepared to help entrepreneurs assess if they are right for the program and if the program is right for them. Unfortunately, an unintended consequence is that this method limits the diversity of applicants.  

To expand the pool of applicants and increase diversity, some program leaders shared external channels from which they also sourced applicants. Some of the categories being hackathons, conferences, business schools, innovation labs, social media, banks, law firms, online collaborative platforms, magazines, and blogs. To be effective, these referral partners must have a clear understanding of the “ideal candidate” for the program.  When the request from the program is unclear there is a risk of receiving a flood of candidates that take valuable program staff time to sort through.  For many programs, they used very local resources like the “Alt City Beruit Co-Working Space” but other programs were able to extrapolate that they could source quality candidates from the co-working spaces in their city.  Use of these new channels could make the selection process of every program more diverse and efficient.  

Channels for Communication Full List

Channels for Communication- Full List

Please use this list as a resource for specific communication channels that could be helpful to your program – or get inspired and find the local equivalent of a new referral partner.

 

NOTE – If you share this list, please credit Accelerating the Accelerators at SOCAP15 as the source.