A new accelerator program will soon start in Richmond that, unlike other incubators or accelerators that focus mostly on helping for-profit business startups, will help budding nonprofit ventures grow and succeed.
The accelerator program, NPO Launchpad, was founded by Richmond-area entrepreneurs Pat Hull and Jeff Palumbo, both of whom have backgrounds in for-profit and nonprofit ventures. It is funded by the Hull Foundation, a charitable fund created by Hull that also has supported other local programs to assist prospective entrepreneurs such as UnBoundRVA.
Three promising nonprofits have been selected for the first NPO Launchpad cohort, which starts Sept. 4.
“Early-stage nonprofits have very similar needs as early-stage for-profits,” said Palumbo, adding that NPO Launchpad’s goal is to provide “a wide array of resources that to help nonprofits flourish within our community.”
NPO Launchpad has partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center to offer the three-month program, during which nonprofit founders will use co-working space at the da Vinci Center. Founders will be matched with mentors from Richmond’s entrepreneurial, business and nonprofit communities.
NPO Launchpad received 29 applications for its first program. The three that were selected are all operating in the Richmond region.
“We’re really proud of these organizations,” Palumbo said.
The three participating nonprofits are:
- Beyond Boundaries, which offers individuals with disabilities the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in the surrounding community;
- Shood, which collects gently used running shoes, reconditions them and distributes them to those who are homeless or living in poverty in Richmond communities; and
- VET Fund, which provides financial support to pet owners facing financial hardships when their pets require life-saving veterinary treatment.