Venture Accelerator Applicant Criteria


UpStart is the right place for your venture if it is responsive to community needs and you (and your team) are willing to learn or refine how you do things. Your venture also needs to work with a Jewish lens and align with the UpStart values and organizational vision. Before joining the Venture Accelerator, your venture should have a clear area of focus, although UpStart can play a role in refining the specific social problem you seek to address.

*UpStart is different from other entrepreneur support organizations. Although financial sustainability is crucial for the success of a venture, how your social venture operates needs to go beyond revenue and expenses. Operational and strategic decisions that you make should align with your venture’s intended social impact.

Your venture is eligible for the Accelerator if:

  • Your current and future work is geographically focused on creating positive change for the Jewish community in North America. Venture leaders whose work is focused on creating a thriving community in small and mid-sized Jewish communities are encouraged to apply.
  • You have at least one paid, full-time staff member at your organization who will participate in the program
  • You have a budget between $350,000 – $1,000,000

Additionally, your venture may be a good fit if you fit the descriptions below:

  • You can clearly describe the impact your work has on creating a Thriving Jewish Community
  • You are able to articulate the community problem and the solution that your venture is poised to impact
  • Your venture offerings adapt based on changing community needs
  • You have mechanisms in place to evaluate your community offerings
  • You can articulate an awareness of others working to support similar or related community problems and solutions
  • You have a budget between $350,000 – $1,000,000
  • The structure of your personnel supports the future growth of your organization
  • You can speak to your financial responsibility and readiness
  • You can articulate the challenges your venture faces in its path to growth and how you would utilize UpStart’s $100,000 grant towards your growth
  • You have systems which support public engagement/interaction 

Take the Venture Stage Quiz


You are the right fit for UpStart if you lead with curiosity and value learning and growth. You are passionate about addressing a social problem and you have a clear vision for a more equitable future. You are determined and able to persevere through the inherent ups and downs of starting and sustaining a venture. If this sounds like you, UpStart can provide you support to build your skillset to give your social venture the best chance at success.

Your venture leader is eligible for the Accelerator if:

  • The venture leader displays professional readiness by having at least one year with their current venture and, at least 5 years in their field or recognition for their work within the field
  • They are professionally proficient in English (spoken and written). Participants have a high school diploma or the equivalent and can communicate via email, instant messaging systems and are able to read documents written at or above the 12th grade reading level
  • They can commit to fully participating in the entire duration of the program from October 2023-October 2024, which will include
    • two, three-day in-person convenings (public health, safety, and security conditions permitting) in November 2023 and October 2024
    • Commit to an average of 5-8 hours/month working synchronously with your cohort, and an additional 5-8 hours/month working individually
    • Participants should have at most three absences to be eligible to graduate, receive the full 100k grant, and attend the final graduation

Additionally, you may be a good fit if you fit the descriptions below:

  • You lead with a desire to learn
  • You persist in the face of setbacks
  • You see failures as essential to success
  • You learn from feedback
  • You embrace challenges with agility
  • You value inclusive and equitable practices


UpStart’s vision is that Jewish communities will be thriving hubs of innovation, building a more just, vibrant, and inclusive future. As such, we aspire to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem that models this future, embodying and driving toward greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. UpStart is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals in all of our programs. We are committed to a fair and respectful evaluation process for every applicant and strive to remove barriers and increase opportunities for historically marginalized communities to access entrepreneurial and philanthropic resources. Should you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to Whitney Weathers, Managing Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at 


UpStart universally provides materials at least 24 hours prior to any convening, utilizes closed captioning during Zoom calls, and provides recordings of all live sessions. Should you need specific accommodations, please email For technical difficulties, please reach out to  

Prospective Venture Accelerator applicants may preview the application questions ahead of time here.

Apply Today