Giving Compass' Take:

Upswell is inspiring grassroots social entrepreneurs through the SEED Lab, a ten month pre-accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs developed by the Caravanserai Project.

How can donors support grassroots initiatives driven by social entrepreneurs?

Here are 35 social entrepreneurs to watch for in 2019.

Mihai Patru could not have imagined that the “seed” planted during a discussion with changemakers in Detroit would sprout into an incubator for budding social innovators and be featured during a workshop on empowering emerging grassroots entrepreneurs at Upswell LA!

Patru is Senior Policy Fellow at University of California, Riverside and co-founder of the Caravanserai Project, a nonprofit that provides the structure, accountability, specialized skillsets, and supportive network connections to help emerging social entrepreneurs grow and develop their innovative ideas into solutions to address long-standing community challenges.

“With the support of Independent Sector leadership, Caravanserai Project brought together some of the country’s most dynamic actors in the social impact sector for a roundtable in Detroit to brainstorm about ways to support social entrepreneurs at the grassroots level,” according to Mihai. Out of that discussion grew The SEED Lab, a ten-month pre-accelerator for early stage social entrepreneurs in Southern California developed by Caravanserai Project in collaboration with the Center for Social Innovation at UC-Riverside, and Independent Sector.

Dr. JerMara Davis-Welch is Founder and Executive Director of The Supermodel Society, which encourages underserved African American and Latino youth to explore and expand their entrepreneurial potential. Formerly a model, she believes that while fashion supermodels are celebrated and defined by their appearance, true supermodels are characterized by what they do. Her pilot project, which launched in 2018, focuses on developing curricula and programs that teach entrepreneurial literacy and economic principles to help increase successful business ownership among marginalized groups.

“Upswell provided me with an insider’s view of the nonprofit world and allowed me to see and experience the great work that many organizations are doing,” she said.

Read the full article about growing social entrepreneurs by Debra Rainey at Upswell.