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United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Launches Social Innovation Incubator

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has announced the launch of the Social Innovation Incubator, an organizational and leadership development program exclusively for early-stage social ventures led and staffed by women and people of color.

Photo Courtesy of United Way Metropolitan Dallas

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has announced the launch of the Social Innovation Incubator, an organizational and leadership development program exclusively for early-stage social ventures led and staffed by women and people of color. The Social Innovation Incubator is designed to support and accelerate the work of startups that offer new and creative solutions to pressing problems facing North Texas in the areas of education, income, and health.

The Social Innovation Incubator is a 12-week online learning program that offers participants:

  • The opportunity to develop a validated business plan through the Bridge for Billions platform, which includes a learn-by-doing approach inspired by MIT’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship
  • Personalized leadership coaching to help participants develop their venture and grow their leadership
  • Seed funding, as well as the opportunity to compete in a pitch competition for additional funding of up to $5,000
  • Prioritization for future programs through United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

By focusing exclusively on startups led and staffed by women and people of color, the team at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has designed the Social Innovation Incubator to foster greater equity in the social innovation sector in North Texas. The program seeks to address historical barriers to success that many women and people of color encounter when launching a startup, including opportunity and resource gaps, as well as systemic racial and gender inequities.

“Social innovation is an exciting area because it’s all about leveraging more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just solutions to our community’s biggest challenges,” said Alexis Snow, senior manager of innovation at United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Unfortunately, not every social entrepreneur has access to the resources and opportunities they need to develop their venture and secure funding. The Social Innovation Incubator is one way to reduce those gaps in resources and opportunity by focusing on supporting startups founded by those who have historically been underrepresented in the social innovation sector. This is something that will benefit all of North Texas, because we need innovative ideas and new voices, from more diverse places, to make sure this community works for everyone.”

The Social Innovation Incubator is sponsored by Comerica Bank.

“At Comerica, we remain focused on supporting organizations and nonprofits serving sectors that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amanda Mahaney, Comerica Bank Dallas Market President. “Creating equitable opportunities for social entrepreneurs and innovation will be vital in ensuring North Texas’ economic recovery efforts are inclusive. Social Innovation Incubator participants will provide critical resources and services to our most vulnerable, which also aligns with our bank’s commitment to making impactful, intentional and innovative investments in the communities we serve.”

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The Social Innovation Incubator is part of the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Social Innovation Lab, a set of programs that support social ventures at various stages. The Social Innovation Lab also includes the Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture and the upcoming Model Replication Workshop.

The Social Innovation Accelerator in collaboration with Accenture has invested nearly $5.8 million in funding, training and mentoring for 54 North Texas social entrepreneurs since its 2013 launch. The Model Replication Workshop, which is slated to launch in 2022, will allow United Way to replicate proven social innovation ventures throughout Dallas to exponentially amplify their impact.

“United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is proud to lead social innovation in North Texas with initiatives such as the Social Innovation Accelerator and Southern Dallas Thrives,” said Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. “Launching the Social Innovation Incubator will allow us to lift up even more talented social entrepreneurs who have a vision for our region. By expanding our social innovation programming, we will move closer to our Aspire United 2030 community goals, which aim to put opportunity in the hands of all North Texans.”

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