Community Startups

  • Issue: Chicago Public Schools students have BIG ideas that could potentially transform their communities but no pathway to formally develop those ideas into revenue generating businesses that can seed scholarships and grants.
  • Beneficiary: Chicago Public Schools Youth
  • Date: May 25, 2016

Involvement: CLA members devoted over 30 hours of skills-based volunteerism and $5,000 in sponsorships and in-kind resources to Community Startups' pilot accelerator program. Working alongside two teams of youth, CLA was able to help develop, prototype and craft business models that were pitched to a panel of investors.

Impact: The goal of Community Startups' Summer Accelerator is to create social impact products and business models that can be acquired, licensed or sold and seed educational scholarships and entrepreneurial grants for CPS students. One of the teams of students was able to catch the eye of an investor who is in the process of seeding a production run of their product. Success from this pilot allowed Community Startups to expand their program to include additional teams for the 2017 Accelerator.

Quote: “Startups rely heavily on early stage supporters who are willing to provide resources that enable the success of pilots and test cases. We put out a request for mentors, corporate sponsorships, and various in-kind resources to the Chicago Leadership Alliance and were amazed by the quick responses of "YES!". Our pilot Summer Accelerator would not have been possible without the support of the CLA and we look forward to partnering with them again this upcoming year, making an impact in the lives of CPS students on the south and west side of Chicago." - Beth Bond, CLA Member and Community Startups founder