, a new 14-month incubator program for entrepreneurs taking a crack at social change, has announced its first class of fellows
. Of the seven companies chosen for the incubator, four were already based in D.C. The remaining three will travel to the District to spend four months in residency at Halcyon House
in Georgetown. The residency is a "key component" that differentiates this incubator from other business incubators in the city, according to Ryan Ross, its program manager.
The seven companies selected for the program are: Be Girl
(New York), a company that works to get sanitary feminine products to girls in Africa so that they can continue their education; Ecoviate
(Nashville, Tenn.,), a carbon-reduction initiative that involves planting a tree for every product sold; PureJoy
, an organic baby food company aiming to be accessible to all families, regardless of economic situation; Ideal Impact
, an online platform matching volunteers to service opportunities; Control A+
(Arlington, Va.), an early warning system for asthma; Datasembly
, an online platform to aggregate and index open data to make it easier to use; and NewsEase
, an online news platform for teachers and students.
"Our interest is to encourage [these] ventures to grow in a sustainable way," explains Ross. To that end, the incubator does not take an equity stake in its companies, which is another way that Halcyon differs from other incubators in the District. "We see D.C. as a hub for social entrepreneurs."
Following the four-month residency program, fellows can continue to use Halcyon House's offices for four additional months (the next cohort of fellows will be moving in at that time). After that, Halcyon has an agreement with WeWork
to provide fellows with six months of free or reduced rent in its coworking spaces. At the end of the 14-month program, fellows will pitch to a variety of investors.
Halcyon fellows will have access to mentors as they build and further their companies. Georgetown University, Tandem Legal Group
, and Sage Communications
, as well as WeWork, have already partnered with Halcyon. The list is not exhaustive. "We are always looking for partners," Ross says.
Halcyon Incubator is the latest program from the S&R Foundation
, a District nonprofit founded in 2000 by Dr. Sachiko Kuno and Dr. Ryuji Ueno with the mission of supporting individuals in the arts, sciences and social entrepreneurship.