Start-ups focused on solving social problems through web or mobile apps can now apply for the Australian edition of global incubator and accelerator Startup Program for Social Entrepreneurs.
The successful applicants to the three-month program will receive digital marketing training and mentoring and finish the program with a minimum viable product (the first edition of an app or software).
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Australian founder Omer Khan says he launched the program after he realised the tech and programming challenges social enterprise entrepreneurs face.
“I found as an entrepreneur, even though I had a background in technology, finance and marketing, I wasn’t a programmer and I found it really difficult to launch a technology-based social enterprise,” Khan says.
“I tried different accelerator programs, crowdfunding, venture capital groups, angel investors, and I found there was a gap for people like myself, so I launched this program.”
The program is four weeks of business development in which a minimum viable product is developed by a partner organisation. The remaining two months of the program is digital marketing coaching to help promote the service.
Khan says the program is open to for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, but the selection focus will be on a company’s potential for social impact.
“The bigger the social impact, the better,” Khan says. “The organisations will also need a clear plan on how to become self-sustainable.”
While the incubator won’t take a revenue share, it will negotiate a revenue share agreement on a case-by-case basis.
Khan says the technological opportunities for boosting social enterprise are expanding rapidly.
“There is an amazing amount of demand and we’re just trying to fill in the gap. This program is designed for people who want to try out programming or tech development for their social enterprise plans without too much of an investment,” he says.
Khan adds the social enterprise scene is full of ineffective models that are slow to develop and test. He says the scalability of tech-enabled social enterprises will see the sector take off in the next few years.
Applications to the program close on July 31.