Contest Unreasonable Institute

Published on September 21st, 2012 | by Priti Ambani

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Start-up Entrepreneur With An Unreasonable Idea? Apply to be a 2013 Fellow

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Are you an entrepreneur with a disruptive idea that has potential to solve some of our hardest social or environmental challenges? The Unreasonable Institute begins its search for early-stage ventures tackling these epic challenges. The Boulder, Colorado-based mentorship and training program will select 10-20 of these companies to attend its fourth annual six-week acceleration program from June 12 – July 24, 2013.

How can the Unreasonable Institute Help Impact Entrepreneurs?

Through Unreasonable Institute’s mentorship program, entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to get a platform for their ideas that helps amplify their efforts to do social good. Why should this matter to startup entrepreneurs around the globe? Teams representing the 10-20 chosen companies live together in under one roof, where they have the chance to:

  • Learn from and live with 50 mentors like Paul Polak, who has enabled over 20 million farmers to move out of poverty; Hunter Lovins, a Time Magazine Hero of the Planet; and Tom Chi, head of User Experience at Google X.
  • Live with portfolio managers from at least 25 major impact investment funds like Khosla Ventures, Calvert Fund, and Acumen Fund,
  • Build relationships with over 100 prospective angel investors,
  • Pitch to well over 1,000 prospective supporters, and
  • Join a global network of 70 early-stage entrepreneurs, 100+ mentors, and the Unreasonable Institute’s 140 partner organizations, including HP, Teach For America, and TED Fellows.

What’s different about the 2013 Institute?

There are four notable differences about the upcoming 2013 Institute, namely:

  • It’s open to teams. While individual entrepreneurs are still welcome to attend, the 2013 Institute is also open to two members of a team.
  • The application process is half as long. In the past three years, the Institute’s application process took 6 months to run and included a crowdfunding challenge. The Unreasonable Team has simplified their selection to a 3-month process, enabling them to pick the entrepreneurs attending by December 23, 2012.
  • Fewer ventures will be admitted. In the past, the Unreasonable Institute has always chosen around two-dozen companies to attend the Unreasonable Institute. This year, it will be focusing on 10-20 and going deeper with them.
  • The Institute will be customized for the ventures chosen. Because the Unreasonable Institute will be working with fewer ventures and has a faster selection process, the Unreasonable Team will have 6 months to select mentors and funders that are particularly relevant to the chosen ventures.

Proven Results for Entrepreneurs

So far, 70 companies that attended the Unreasonable Institute have raised more than $23 million in funding, and 68% of them have secured funding within 6 months of attending the Unreasonable Institute. This is how the Institute helped Prakti Designs and its CEO, Mouhsine Serrar. Prakti Designs’s clean cook stoves are being used by 250,000 people in Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, and India.
  • Serrar attended the Institute looking for guidance around marketing, distribution, and operations to scale his company.
  • While there, he locked up a partnership with Siegel + Gale (a communications consultancy for Fortune 500 companies) for $10,000 in funds and $100,000 in communications and branding services.
  • Unreasonable Angel Investor Walt Pounds joined his team as his VP of Operations.
  • He secured a $200,000 grant and a partnership with Cummins, the world’s largest engines manufacturer, who will be working with him to improve his technology.

“I have been running a company for 8 years and I sincerely don’t think I could have found this kind of learning and connections anywhere else,” says Serrar of Morocco, a 2012 Unreasonable Fellow

Securing funding in only the first step to a successful venture. To really scale,  impact and improve millions of lives worldwide companies need all the right resources, connections, and training. The Unreasonable Institute helps with just that.

Applying to be a Fellow is for you if:

  • Your venture addresses a massive social or environmental problem.
  • You are currently working full-time on the development of your venture.
  • Your venture a for-profit company.
  • Your venture generated at least $1 in revenue from selling a core product or service.
  • You have the resource for fees. Attending the institute costs $10,000/member or $12,000 (See what that covers) for a team of 2 members.

Attending the institute has an upfront cost both in terms of money and time. Hence, the emphasis on ventures that are revenue-tested. But there is tremendous value that could be achieved and the testimonials of previous fellows speak to that. Read more about all the eligibility criteria here.

Apply now:

Applicants have until October 25th to submit their written applications. To learn more about the Unreasonable Institute as well as to submit an application, visit http://unreasonableinstitute.org.



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About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+



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