NEW! Learn Acumen's Patient Capital approach to impact investing

Sign Me Up!


The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Enterprise Accelerator

Develop your idea for an innovative solution to a problem associated with poverty.

Build Your Business


Jul 22, 2020

10 weeks

Learn More

Add your name to the wait list.

In partnership with

Learn how to

Refine your social enterprise ideas and test hypotheses for developing a viable business model
Define and measure social impact
Identify potential partners
Develop a financial model and strategy
Pitch your venture to representatives from Acumen and The Rockefeller Foundation at a final showcase
Build networks with other student social entrepreneurs globally

Refine your business model

Determine the best next steps to reach financial sustainability.

Accelerate your social impact

Change more lives, faster, by focusing on activities that work.

Gain valuable feedback

Tap into the expertise of peers—and Acumen—to solve problems in real-time.

Join a lasting community

Build meaningful relationships with a community of like-minded social innovators.

How it Works

The Rockefeller Foundation-Acumen Student Social Enterprise Accelerator is the final stage of a global challenge for university students to come together and develop innovative solutions to problems associated with poverty. Through the accelerator, our organizations aim to equip the next generation of social innovators with the skills and support to launch successful social ventures based on our experience backing companies, leaders, and ideas.

In this 10-week program, you’ll work to refine your social enterprise idea and test hypotheses for developing a viable business model. This is a hands-on, project-based curriculum. Over the course of the program, you will complete weekly assignments, get out in the real world to test your ideas—and share them via interactive Learning Labs for feedback from coaches and peers.

Past Participants

What's Included

    5 Peer Learning Labs

    2 One-on-One Coaching Consultations

    Video tutorials

    Case studies from other social enterprises

    Eligibility to compete for up to $20k per startup in seed funding

"The program structure and accompaniment of the Acumen Academy team really helps to bring out the best in you.”

Jose Pilares,

Founder, Qhatu


Module 1

Creating Impact for Customers

  • Interpret what differentiates social entrepreneurship from traditional entrepreneurship
  • Define your social impact thesis and draft hypotheses about your business and impact model that you can measure and test
  • Begin to adopt or deepen your lean startup mindset
Module 2

Finding Your Problem/Solution Fit

  • Identify your primary customer segments
  • Conduct customer interviews that enable you to better evaluate the problem-solution fit of social innovation among your target customers
  • Map the pains, gains, and jobs to be done for your potential customers and align these with specific products or services your social innovation could offer
Module 3

Identifying Competitors and Collaborators

  • Build a solutions map to identify who else is working on the issues you want to solve and evaluate what you do distinctively well
  • Determine the stages of your value chain and identify collaborators that could help simplify your value chain
Module 4

Finding Your Product Market Fit with a Minimum Viable Product

  • Learn how to structure experiments that help you successfully validate or disprove business hypotheses
  • Develop a minimum viable product and test it with customers to gain market feedback
  • Learn the best practices for setting prices and sizing the potential market for your venture
Module 5

Financial Modeling

  • Define your revenue model and calculate your estimated startup costs
  • Build a basic financial model using the Financial Model Template
  • Articulate your financial story in a compelling and clear way
Module 6

Investment Readiness

  • Understand common stages of fundraising for early stage startups
  • Evaluate the different types of capital available to organizations seeking funding and learn how to determine which is best for your venture
  • Share a final presentation that synthesizes your key lessons and insights from this accelerator with your peers and outside experts

Key Dates


July 22, 2020


July - Sept. 2020

Final Showcase

Sept. 16, 2020

Who is Qualified to Apply?

    Those whose teams have completed 4 of the 5 assignments in the first phase of the challenge (Lean Startup course) and submit an application for the Accelerator.

    At least one team member must be actively enrolled at a higher education institution.



Do I have to or can I have a pre-existing idea?

You can have a pre-existing idea, but it's not necessary. Refer to the Challenge Areas section of this website to learn more about potential areas to focus on.

What prizes are winners eligible for?

Winning teams are eligible to receive up to $20,000 in funding per team. The total prize pool for the Accelerator is $200,000: $100,000 in funding for each of two cohorts.

Will I pitch in-person?

You will pitch virtually. We will host the pitch competition via a video conference.

Ask a Question

Info Session

Watch a Preview