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Startup Spotlight: Capital One's 1717 Innovation Center to host accelerator program for nonprofits
Startup Spotlight

Startup Spotlight: Capital One's 1717 Innovation Center to host accelerator program for nonprofits


Five nonprofit organizations in the Richmond region have been selected to participate in a new accelerator program designed to help nonprofits be more successful in achieving their missions.

Capital One Financial Corp. announced its 1717 Innovation Center in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom will host the accelerator program called Grow @1717 this fall.

The 12-week program will provide nonprofit leaders with a needs assessment, professional development workshops, mentoring and other services.

It is the second nonprofit accelerator program to be announced recently in the Richmond region. In August, three local nonprofits were selected for the first cohort of NPO Launchpad, an accelerator founded by Richmond-area entrepreneurs Pat Hull and Jeff Palumbo.

Other accelerator programs such as Lighthouse Labs, a Richmond nonprofit that provides mentoring and other services for startups, generally focus on for-profit, early stage business ventures.

Nonprofits are not much different from business startups, said Toria Edmonds-Howell, program and community engagement manager for the 1717 Innovation Center.

“Compared to larger corporations, they have fewer financial resources and smaller staffs,” she said. “But like startups and corporations, they have big visions and goals. Often, in our pursuit to have more unicorn businesses or on our own technology journeys, it is easy to forget to bring along the organizations that serve critical needs in our communities.”

“A nonprofit accelerator takes into consideration the limited time and staff an organization has, and provides them with the opportunity to learn and apply lessons quickly, while, in the case of Grow @1717, giving them the support needed, through pro bono and skills-based volunteers, to execute projects that meet immediate needs of the organization,” she said.

Capital One is partnering with the Taproot Foundation, a national organization that helps nonprofits, to work with participants in Grow @1717. Taproot will conduct a needs assessments with each participating organization.

The five nonprofits, all based in the Richmond area, selected for the program are:

  • Atlantic Outreach Group: A Richmond-based nonprofit that assists people with physical, mental, emotional, social and financial challenges by connecting them to the resources necessary to empower them.
  • Oakwood Arts: A nonprofit with a mission to make art and careers in creative industries accessible to all through community engagement, inspiring programming and experiential education.
  • The Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton: An educational and cultural center fostering personal growth and community change in the Greater Fulton area of Richmond through community education, nutrition, and career and employment services.
  • The READ Center: A community-based nonprofit organization providing educational opportunities to adults with low-level reading and communication skills.
  • Armstrong Leadership Program: A program at Armstrong High School to help students excel and become leaders by engaging in personal reflection, mentoring and peer mediation, traditional tutoring, college and career preparation and cultural exploration.

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