What to know about the new FINNOVATION Lab cohort:

  • The new fourth cohort, part of FINNOVATION Lab’s Fellowship Program, is seeking nine individuals, “ready to address the biggest issues affecting Minnesotans”
  • The nine-month program (operating in a hybrid form) will start in September and provide early-stage social entrepreneurs with a range of benefits including:
    • $50,000 living stipend
    • $3,000 healthcare stipend
    • Tailored curriculum
    • Access to mentors, advisors, and a dedicated workspace
  • Fellows are expected to dedicate 35 hours a week to the program
  • Applications will be open from April 15 through May 15

The Quote: Connie Rutledge, CEO of FINNOVATION Lab

“This past year presented new and unexpected challenges to communities across the entire nation. We know there are entrepreneurs who have ideas to solve the challenges facing Minnesotans today. We invite them to join our community to gain invaluable experience and guidance to turn those ideas into impact businesses.”

For more information about the program, read the full release below.

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MINNEAPOLIS, April 6, 2021 – FINNOVATION Lab announced a fourth cohort of their Fellowship Program which aims to support and empower social entrepreneurs who have bold ideas for sustainable, positive impact. The Program is accepting applications April 15 – May 15, seeking nine new individuals ready to address the biggest issues affecting Minnesotans. The nine-month program will start in September and provide early-stage social entrepreneurs with a $50,000 living stipend, $3,000 health care stipend, tailored curriculum, access to an ecosystem of advisors and mentors, and dedicated workspace.

Applicants should have a strong tie to Minnesota, a deep understanding of a social or environmental issue they want to solve and an idea for how to tackle the issue through entrepreneurship. All areas of impact are welcome. The Fellowship Program will provide tools and guidance as the entrepreneurs develop innovative social business models. Entrepreneurs who are already operating their businesses are invited to apply if they have not been working full-time on the venture for one year or more, or if they are pursuing a major change to the service or product offered.

The Fellowship Program will continue to use a hybrid model, originally put into effect as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting a portion of education online with key in-person touchpoints. Curriculum focuses on leadership development, business planning and modeling, and systems-level analysis for social change using design thinking methodology. Fellows are expected to dedicate 35 hours each week to the program, allowing participants, often for the first time, to focus their energy on diving deeper into exploring a problem and a potential solution. The group will learn, experiment, and turn their ideas into reality.

“This past year presented new and unexpected challenges to communities across the entire nation,” said Connie Rutledge, CEO at FINNOVATION Lab. “We know there are entrepreneurs who have ideas to solve the challenges facing Minnesotans today. We invite them to join our community to gain invaluable experience and guidance to turn those ideas into impact businesses.”

Since launching in 2018, the Fellowship Program has fostered the next generation of social impact leaders, guiding them to create sustainable social enterprise models. Alumni of the program have amassed great accomplishments both during and following their time in the Fellowship Program. A few highlights include:

  • Nick Alm (Cohort 1 Fellow): Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mossier, launched an LGBTQ-focused online learning platformto encourage more inclusive workplaces.
  • Mohamed Malim (Cohort 2 Fellow): Founder of Epimonia, partnered with a Somali youth basketball league to create apparel that was featured at New York Fashion Week.
  • La’Shante (Shaunie) Grigsby (Cohort 2 Fellow): Founder of Flava Café, signed a lease on a location in Frogtown that will open for business in Fall 2021.

Cohort 3 wraps programming in June 2021. This group was pushed to work and think differently due to headwinds from the pandemic and social unrest in the Twin Cities.

“Running a social impact business is extremely important yet challenging work, especially when life as we know it is disrupted and resources become even more limited,” said Jacquie Berglund, Founder of FINNOVATION Lab. “The Fellowship Program has been successful at pushing social entrepreneurs to harness their passions, while teaching the practical skills and logistics to turn those passions into functioning businesses. Our community needs these types of ventures to thrive now more than ever.”

The fourth Cohort will be selected by a group of community leaders and alumni of the Fellowship Program. The Program is made possible through generous support from the Bush Foundation, known for its commitment to innovation and creative problem solving. Dedicated workspace and business resources are available to fellows in the FINNOVATION Lab space within the FINNEGANS House at 817 5th Ave S. Minneapolis 55404.

More details about FINNOVATION Lab and the Fellowship Program, including application information and eligibility requirements, is available at Finn-Lab.com.

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About FINNOVATION Lab

FINNOVATION Lab is an inclusive workspace and community inspiring social change, growth, innovation, and experimentation. From educational programs to unique events, FINN Lab empowers social entrepreneurs to make a positive change in the world through the power of business. For more information, visit Finn-Lab.com.