Founded in 2012, InterSector is “the region’s first and only accelerator that supports for-profit social enterprises,” says Nicole Muise-Kielkucki, business manager at Idea Foundry.
InterSector defines social enterprise companies as “for-profit ventures that are motivated to solve some social or environmental issue in our society.” Previous InterSector companies include Thread, which turns trash into fabric; Marinus Analytics, which brings human traffickers to justice and Optimus Technologies, a technology company developing biofuel solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of trucks.
InterSector is searching for ambitious ideas that create change. “We’re looking for big, innovative ideas that drive forward social change but also create economic opportunity in Pennsylvania,” says Muise-Kielkucki. While the business should be scalable, it needs to be located primarily in the Pittsburgh area to be eligible for InterSector.
InterSector focuses on early stage companies. The ideas should be innovative, and at their core should be using business as a force for social good–solving a social or environmental problem that affects daily life.
Companies accepted into the accelerator are given a pre-seed investment to cover startup costs and expenses, and three months of hands-on business development and support.
“In that three months of hands-on support, we provide personalized and customized work plans for our entrepreneurs,” says Muise-Kielkucki. “We look at each company as a whole and evaluate where they are and what are the gaps they need to fill.” Companies spend the three months driving customer discovery, finding a place in the market and creating a plan for sustainable progress.
InterSector holds application cycles annually and hosts 10 companies each year.
Applications for the next cycle of InterSector are open now until October 15th, 2015. Visit InterSector’s site for more information.