All companies start as ideas that require thought, cultivation and thorough planning to go from being an idea to a reality. Incubators – programs that foster such development – are one option for entrepreneurs seeking a great resource of information and encouragement.


Throughout the country, there are incubators that are specifically geared toward socially-motivated entrepreneurial ventures. And as we know, female business owners are especially inclined to start businesses that are designed to benefit and assist others.

Related: Fostering Female Social Entrepreneurs

That is why we have compiled a list of a few incubators for those who are looking for alternative ways to grow their ideas into something tangible. Read on to learn a little more about these programs.

Location: Washington, D.C.
About: This newly-formed incubator’s dedication to encouraging future social entrepreneurs is realized through a fellowship that lasts between 12 and 16 months. Those who participate are offered a four-month residency, access to experienced mentors and eight rent-free months in a workspace. Programs run through the Halcyon Incubator are backed by the S&R Foundation, a nonprofit geared toward supporting innovation in art and science.

Location: New York, N.Y.
About: Founded in 1987, Echoing Green assists entrepreneurs on the path to impacting the world through a rather exclusive fellowship program that accepts an estimated 1 percent of all applicants. Those who are accepted are given the opportunity to hone their leadership skills and develop their professional networks, among other important foundational elements. Its efforts are supported by the global growth equity firm General Atlantic.

Location: Santa Clara, Calif.
About: Based at Santa Clara University, the Institute boasts two development programs. Their online offering is geared toward entrepreneurial individuals who are seeking basic business training and tips. The GSBI Accelerator program, meanwhile, is made for ventures in more advanced stages of planning. Participants in both the Online and Accelerator programs are given access to a network of educators and mentors that can help them move their businesses to the next level.

Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
About: While speaking with, Good Ventures CEO Garrett Melby described their incubator as “a service organization” that is “applying strategies and resources of a venture community to social entrepreneurs.” They are dedicated to helping innovators develop into entrepreneurs by helping them view their passions for causes from a marketing perspective while also offering participants tips on how to develop their business plans and gain capital.

Location: San Francisco, Calif.
About: This venture capital firm is especially interested in helping those who hope to utilize technology in an effort to solve the world’s many problems. That “technology for good” campaign is realized through the backing of co-founder teams with the business models and raw potential to tackle issues on a global scale.

Location: Boulder, Colo.
About: The Institute’s rather unorthodox name might be attributed to their desire to offer “unreasonable advantage[s]” to those who participate in their programs. RI wants its participants to positively change the lives of 1 million people – each. In addition to offering programs out of Boulder, they also have locations in Mexico and eastern Africa.

Location: Chicago, Ill.
About: Panzanzee’s mission is to “be the best place where impact companies come to live and grow.” They cater to for-profit businesses with social impact-oriented goals at the core of their plans, as well as nonprofits looking to create sustainability within their business models in order to achieve their goals.

Related: Five Sources of Money for Your Startup