Austin is increasingly being recognized on a national level as a hotbed for entrepreneurial talent, but UnLtd USA, an incubator program for Austin-based social entrepreneurs, is validating that there is a large pool of impact-focused entrepreneurs in the city as well. UnLtd USA began work on ground in February of 2014 and opened applications for its first cohort of entrepreneurs on May 1st to receive seed funding and a full year of customized, hands-on incubation support. Over the course of a month, they received over 75 applications for funding and support. Applications ranged across many different sectors, the most common being health, education, economic development, and poverty alleviation. This selection round has also seen a large number of organizations that remain in early stages of development, as 53 of the applicants are starting or piloting a new initiative and 24 are seeking support for a pre-existing venture.
UnLtd USA draws its model from UnLtd, an organization launched in the United Kingdom in 2003, which has pioneered the support model for early-stage social entrepreneurs and to date has supported over 20,000 social entrepreneurs within the UK. Based on its success there, UnLtd has been replicated in 4 additional countries and in 2014 is launching in a further 7.
Applicants will go through a rigorous selection process over the course of the next two months, being analysed by the full UnLtd USA team as well as an external Advisory Panel of business leaders, industry experts and entrepreneurs. On August 2nd, UnLtd USA will select its first cohort of up to 10 investees to receive seed funding and a full year of customized, hands-on incubation support. The UnLtd USA program exists to identify Austin’s most promising start-up social entrepreneurs and accelerate the pace of change of their high-impact social ventures.