Diverse applicants and areas of impact ranging from environmental sustainability efforts to support and resources for the Black community attracted to the program, now in its fourth year.
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 24, 2021 – FINNOVATION Institute, the newly established non-profit partner of FINNOVATION Lab, has selected nine early-stage entrepreneurs for the fourth cohort of its Fellowship Program, which aims to support and empower entrepreneurs who have bold ideas for sustainable, positive impact. The nine-month program, running September 2021 through May 2022, will push the fellows to solve social or environmental issues through innovative business models.
Fellows will receive a $50,000 living stipend and $3,000 health care stipend and have access to dedicated workspace and an ecosystem of advisors and mentors. The group will work through a tailored curriculum designed to develop the leadership skills necessary to run a successful social enterprise. In addition to valuable resources and benefits, fellows gain support and critical feedback through working as part of a group with shared values.
“We are excited to support our fourth cohort’s efforts to develop mission-driven businesses with mindful leadership. Their personal and professional progress is important to the work we aim to accomplish through the FINNOVATION Institute,” said Connie Rutledge, CEO of FINNOVATION Institute. “Amidst all of the uncertainty in today’s world, we must remember that our communities are full of innovative ideas that need room to grow.”
The nine fellows were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants. A group of community leaders and alumni of the Fellowship Program selected this year’s group. The FINNOVATION Fellowship continues to attract diverse applicants, reflected in the final selected fellows and the social issues their business ideas represent. Within this cohort, the majority of founders identify as women and/or people of color, continuing the program’s support for entrepreneurs with personal experience in the issues they aim to solve.
The selected fellows and their areas of impact include:
- Fun Fun Cheng: Providing healthy and culturally nourishing food to the chronically ill in the Asian community.
- Charie Gill-Baptist: Reducing disparities for young people aging out of foster care, providing resources for self-development, professional growth, and financial stability.
- Hannah Hendrix: Eliminating access barriers to food and the kitchen using consultation and food delivery services that center disabled people and their experiences.
- Monica Jones: Increasing awareness and understanding of maternal wellness and mortality in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color community.
- Chou Moua: Bringing cultural consciousness into healthcare and social services consulting starting with Adult Foster Care and branching into other service areas.
- Ashleyn Przedwiecki: Tackling waste and the environmental footprint of the events industry through a sustainable events academy and creative design agency.
- Ayanna Rakhu: Addressing drowning disparities among People of Color, developing a culturally relevant swim curriculum.
- Katelyn Retterath Martin: Balancing injustices in cataloging systems, creating a database that forges pathways for equity and inclusion in libraries.
- Brittany L. Wright: Reducing maternal mortality and morbidity through a holistic maternal care center.
“This is a promising group of entrepreneurs,” said Jacquie Berglund, FINNOVATION Lab and FINNEGANS Brew Co. Founder. “Starting a business, especially in the social impact space, is incredibly challenging. One of the primary prerequisites is to have passion for creating change, and that is evident within each of the selected fellows.”
This latest cohort brings the FINNOVATION Fellowship Program network to 32 entrepreneurs, expanding the social impact community and increasing positive social change for local communities. Alumni of the program have gone on to create revenue-building businesses, raise capital funding and serve as visible leaders in our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The Fellowship 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 information about the FINNOVATION Institute and the Fellowship Program is available at Finn-Lab.com.
FINNOVATION Institute is a 501(c)(3) serving “innovation for impact” entrepreneurs, providing support to start social purpose businesses and to become strong leaders in the social business world. FINNOVATION Institute aims to create positive social and economic change by supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises with the education, tools, and network they need to thrive. For more information on the programs and resources made available through FINNOVATION Institute, visit www.Finn-Lab.com.