News

First Social Accelerator meeting pinpoints enterprises' needs

On February 9, the first cohort of the San Diego Social Enterprise Accelerator met for a half-day of training and networking where they shared needs and learned from peers and Accelerator partners. Nine organizations — Center for Employment Opportunities, City Heights Coffee House, Dreams for Change, Goodwill Industries, Home Start Thrift Store, International Rescue Committee, Kitchens for Good, San Diego Coffee Training Institute and Youth Campaigns — are a part of the inaugural cohort, which will train 100 San Diego County residents who face barriers to employment. Each organization runs a double bottom line operation, putting emphasis on both social and economic output.

Andy Hall, San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) Vice President and Chief Program Officer, welcomed the group on behalf of the Accelerator partners, which include SDWP, REDF and Mission Edge. Together the organizations are braiding together $245,000 in private and public funds to invest in the Accelerator. “We are here to amplify your message,” said Hall. “Your impact is your competitive advantage. You are the future of nonprofits.” He noted the varying business stages in the room — some are ready to stand, some accelerate and some build — highlighting the opportunity for collaboration with the partners as well as cohort peers.

This event was one of at least four educational gatherings the group will have over the next year. Time was spent discussing topics that they would find most valuable. Common themes included benefits counseling, policy/advocacy, human resources law, tracking and messaging impact and identifying funding. The feedback will be used to determine the curriculum for future meetings.

At the end of the afternoon, the cohort was invited to happy hour with members of Social Venture Partners, a group that provides funding and pro bono consulting to strengthen local nonprofits and our community. It was a unique opportunity to connect deeper with fellow cohort members and directly to potential funders.

If you are interested in funding the next San Diego Social Enterprise Accelerator cohort, contact Andy Hall at AndyHall@workforce.org.