The Hub Coworking Hawai’i (the Hub) and Teach For America Hawai’i (TFA) have a vested interest in social impact and are working together to design a holistic program that offers participants a menu of experiences and resources to strengthen their existing toolkits, connect them with resources, and create collective change.
There is an untapped market of early stage, social impact, local entrepreneurs who would benefit from a cohort based incubator experience. Within this market is a submarket of educator-entrepreneurs ("edupreneurs") and we are providing them with opportunities and a pipeline to develop their ventures. With strong foundational support, a community of peers, and social emotional support, this untapped market has the long term potential to generate additional deal flow for the existing innovation ecosystem in Hawai’i. With each cohort, the group of like minded individuals will grow and support one another to create an activated local community of social entrepreneurs.
The Social Impact Incubator Program (SIIP) is a five-month, hybrid virtual and in-person cohort based learning experience that builds stronger relationships between the participants, dives deep on technical skill sets, and connects the cohort to meaningful mentorship for success. More specifically, SIIP includes the following components:
- Intentionally diverse cohort: Educators are natural entrepreneurs - each day, they invent and iterate for their students with restricted resources. Yet, the education field has remained largely separated from the innovation ecosystem. To bridge this gap, we have a goal of having at least three of eight teams in each cohort led by educators from the Teach for America network. This has the added benefit of creating cohorts with diverse experiences, perspectives, and industry sector knowledge.
- Learning modules grounded in a sense of self and values based leadership: Developing the whole entrepreneur means starting with a strong sense of self as the foundation for lasting entrepreneurial success. Participants engage in a kick-off experience followed by 10 bi-weekly sessions. The curriculum begins with a deep dive into personal values and values-based leadership. This sets the stage for developing or revisiting organizational mission, vision, and values. The curriculum then turns towards modules that help the entrepreneurs gain clarity on their customers, the problem they are hoping to address, their business structure(s), understanding cost structure and capital, how to build out their network, and next steps to advance their work. This will develop and introduce them to the technical skills and vocabulary used in business and the innovation ecosystem. A common vocabulary is a critical component for these new ventures to move on to other business programs if they choose.
- Ongoing mentorship and community building: Participants engage in mentoring conversations after each session to help them digest and apply the content. In addition, each cohort receives an Unlimited Membership at the Hub during the cohort and for up to 6 months after the completion of the program to help support their success. The program incorporates opportunities for participants to engage across cohorts and sectors in learning sessions, mentorship sessions, and informal network building opportunities. The mentorship, community of peers, and Hub membership give each cohort a place and space where they can build their venture and connect with fellow entrepreneurs and other professionals.