The world’s most successful startups have at one time in their life-cycle had the backing of a startup incubator. These incubators have been the accelerators who have provided a good breeding ground for the startups and helped them fine-tune their ideas into the giant businesses they are today. The incubators have provided access to a working space, investment, mentorship, and much more. In this article we feature some of the most prolific and best known incubators and accelerators around the globe. 

techstars

TechStars

TechStars are the pioneers of, “Startup Weekend” their offerings go beyond the traditional showup, eat some food, meet some successful people action. They have a series of programs spanning 15 countries with a big focus on passion driven startups.

Techstars has incredible mentors, who dedicate in most cases a minimum of 12 weeks to program participants. This ensures that with every amazing graduate of the program, there are an infinite amount of new applications for the following cycle (usually four per year). TechStars has over 1600 launched companies in the market and at least a quarter of them focused on impact social impact.

Hult Prize Global Accelerator

The Hult Prize Foundation was founded in 2009 by leading social entrepreneur Ahmad Ashkar, this organization has a ten-year head start on nearly everyone else in the impact startup space with a workforce of more than 25,000 students spread out across

2,000 or so universities in more than 100 countries and an official global partnership with the United Nations. It is home to the world’s largest accelerator program that welcomes early-stage startups from every corner of the world. Top investments exceed US$1,000,000 and annual participation topped 250,000 in 2019 with an alumni community north of two million people. Notable alumni include Aspire Food Group, BuuPass, and  IMPCT Coffee. 

Y Combinator

This is one of the most famous incubators in the world. Their seed funding program has more unicorns than any other.  Their recent addition of free online content for entrepreneurs puts at the top. One of the most impressive things that Y Combinator offers is its extensive alumni of startups such as Airbnb, Dropbox, and Twitch as well as its celebrity speakers like Mark Zuckerberg, who regularly engage with the startup community. 

500 Startups

500 Startups is a young but promising incubator. It admitted its first class of startups into their pilot California incubator in 2011. While primarily focused on early-stage venture and seed funding, their aim is to discover (self-proclaimed), “the world’s most talented

entrepreneurs” with as much a focus on ecosystems, as on enterprise. 500 Startups have the ability to ignite the impact space ecosystem with a vengeance.  They lead in founder diversity in both nationality and gender, these guys get the crown for the most rogue and robust of the batch.

WAYRA

Wayra was originally launched in 2011 out of Colombia, It is a mega global hub that has a presence in 10 countries around the world. It is backed by Telefonica, one of Latin America’s and Europe’s largest telecommunications companies.  Wayra is easily the largest

impact accelerator in Latin America. Wayra has gone well beyond CSR and is a fundamental impact maker, specifically within the job creation and youth unemployment sectors and as a result has gracefully gained its place in our list.

CHANGELABS

This accelerator program is unique in both it’s methodology as well as it’s access to international markets along with it’s exclusive focus on impact. While Changelabs is a relative newcomer in the space, it is currently focused on one of the fastest growing and under-served markets in the world, the Middle East. It has assembled a seasoned team with decades of experience and a

mentor community that includes founders and investors of leading companies and accelerators. It’s no surprise that they are providing some of the largest funding available in the region at LE 2,000,000 given they are backed by an A-list of international partners that would make any founding team jealous including Amazon, the Dutch Development Bank, the European Union, and Blom Bank. Its first cohort in Egypt offers an impact solution to job creation and youth unemployment in one of the largest Arab populations in the world at around 100 million people.

Halcyon

Halcyon is strategically located in the development capital of the world, Washington, DC . It has positioned itself to have sustainable global impact across all corners of the world. The Halcyon House offers impact and social entrepreneurs an epicenter in the heart of DC

where they live, work, learn and of course play. From their intensive summer programs that can last as little as 7-days to 14-days, all the way to the more sought after 5-month fellowship program that includes free housing, all of Halcyon’s activities are centered around community, art, and activism. 

BongoHive

Born in Zambia, this company was one of Africa’s first innovation and technology hubs focused on young people with a mission of changing the world.BongoHive is simply a game changer for the African continent.  Based in Lusaka, the group of founders built their first accelerator to address the learning gaps they experienced in university and at their first jobs.  

The aim of Bongohive at startup was to have a better way to design programming to enhance soft skills and impact attributes along with idea cultivation and the deployment of capital. Today,  BongoHive has evolved into a multi-tiered human capital acceleration company, cultivating and training the continent’s future innovators through a number of programs including bootcamps, pre-accelerators, accelerators, a learning academy, and shared work-space. They have an incredible team of locals who believe not only in their home base of Zambia but in the future of their entire continent. 

Gaza Sky Geeks

Founded in 2011, described as, “The World’s Toughest Entrepreneurs” and dedicated to providing economic equalizing opportunities, this accelerator is rapidly solving a local youth unemployment challenge that is amongst the worst in the world.  It is based in

Gaza, Palestine in the Middle East. Annual programs include everything from full-stack code development bootcamps to on-campus university tech trainings and a feature-packed coworking space.  Recent additions include an agency that virtually deploys alumni into digital and tech positions all over the world. Backed by international organizations like Mercy Corps, Google, and Techstars the world of impact could not be happier with the continued growth and success of this game-changing accelerator. 

Seedcamp , UK

Seedcamp adopts a different approach, believing that startup entrepreneurs are more in need of intelligent human input rather than money. Their philosophy is that to set up a solid company, a startup must be able to draw on a global network of suitable advisors – thus allowing them to overcome all the standard challenges faced by all startups in the quickest time possible. Seedcamp provides consultancy, training and 

other services designed to help startups make their assault on the market. In the space of eight years, the incubator has provided funding for nearly 200 companies, raised investment of over $350 million and “created” one unicorn: Transferwise

Other incubators worth mentioning include; Agora AcceleratorEchoing Green Fellowship and Fledge.

At AIC RAISE we strive to join these ranks to create a holistic ecosystem for social startups for maximising both profits and benefits to society and the environment. Here we encourage and backup innovative startups with suitable physical infrastructure in terms of capital equipment and operating facilities, key domain knowledge support, coupled with the availability of sectoral experts for mentoring, business planning support, access to seed capital, market information, management, business strategy, industry partners, training as well as critical networking. We encourage you to reach us through the contacts and address below.

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