Change-Driven Entrepreneurs, Win Free Space at StartingBlock!


StartingBlock, in partnership with the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact and Associated Bank, seeks the best and brightest social impact entrepreneurs to join us as part of a brand-new Social Impact Initiative at StartingBlock. Members of this social impact “pod” will sit at the nexus of enterprise and solving significant social and environmental challenges, focusing on how a business-driven approach can make a difference. These companies and organizations will demonstrate how social entrepreneurship can serve as a model for creating sustainable impact in Wisconsin and beyond.

Winners receive 100% free membership to StartingBlock for six months in a specially designed space at StartingBlock where social impact entrepreneurs can come and learn from each other as well as access all of StartingBlock’s resources and amenities, including programming geared towards collaboration, growth and giving back. Local consulting firm Greenbush Strategy Partners—which focuses on creating strategies to scale social impact—will provide support through individualized growth plans, workshops, and mentorship.


Applications are due December 3, 2018 and can be submitted in the application below.


To be eligible for one of up to eight pod memberships, entrepreneurs must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a functioning enterprise (either a non-profit entity or for-profit company) with a viable revenue-generating product or service
  • Be working to drive social impact in the areas of:
    – K-12 education
    – Resilient communities
    – Economic opportunity for all
  • Address an important social and/or environmental challenge that exists in Wisconsin (that may also exist elsewhere) through their products, services or operations.
  • Be based in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Have a demonstrated need for work space at StartingBlock for at least one team member for 20+ hours per week

Entrants can be pre- or post- incorporation and can be structured as a nonprofit or a for-profit entity, including benefit corporations.


Applications Open: November 1
Application Deadline: December 3

Applications are due no later than 11 pm December 3, 2018. Applications will be evaluated by a panel of judges according to the following criteria:

  1. the extent to which the organization has strong connections to Wisconsin through its staff, investors, directors, clients/customers
  2. degree to which their organization’s values and measures beneficial societal impact in Wisconsin
  3. ability to demonstrate financial sustainability

Notification: December 7
Interviews: December 10-14

Selected applicants will be invited to advance to Phase II and will interview with a panel of judges. Phase II applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
degree to which their organization pursues an innovative approach to a societal challenge in Wisconsin
the probability of continued success and ability to generate social impact in Wisconsin
the organization’s plans for future implementation and growth
the scalability and replicability of the organization’s approach to creating lasting positive impact in Wisconsin.

Winners Announced: Week of December 17
Move In Date: January 1

StartingBlock, American Family Insurance, and Associated Bank, in their sole discretion, reserve the right to interpret the rules of this contest, and such interpretation shall be binding on all participants.

The Social Impact Initiative competition is sponsored by StartingBlock, American Family Insurance, and Associated Bank. Entries were accepted from November 1, 2018, through December 3, 2018.. Entries were be judged by a panel of judges selected by the sponsors. The odds of winning depend on the number and quality of entries received. No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited.

Applications for the Social Impact Initiative have now closed. Thank you for your interest, and stay tuned for more updates!

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