Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Sourcing Capital

This section looks at what you need to ask in order to better understand the investments that your cohorts are seeking. It provides a list of activities to help you to cultivate a stronger network of investors for your entrepreneurs. It then looks at five ways to facilitate better transactions between investors and entrepreneurs.

Understanding the Ask

Before an entrepreneur begins seeking investment, it is important for them to understand what they are asking for, why they are asking for it, and whether or not this ask can be justified. There are a number of key questions that you can ask your entrepreneurs in order to better understand the investment they intend to seek.

  • 01.

    Funding Amount

    How do you know how much do you need?

    What are your operating costs?

    What are your venture’s strategic initiatives in the next 18 to 24 months?

    What do you want to be doing to grow and strengthen your business?

    What is the cost of those initiatives?

  • 02.

    Funding Type

    What type of funding are you looking for/would fit your stage and model best?





  • 03.

    Use of Funds

    What will you do with the money?

  • 04.

    Investor Return

    What are the returns to the investor?

    Are they social, financial or both?

    What expectations will investors have for these returns?

Practical Tip

Not all capital is the same.

Entrepreneurs need to be aware that every form of capital will have a different impact on their business.



  • 1.

    Telehealth is seeking $75,000 of grant funding to build new IT systems and expand partnerships that will double clinics in the next two years. Telehealth is also seeking $100,000 in soft debt financing to cover operating expenses as the new clinics build their client-base.


    That investment will enable us to serve 200,000 people per year by 2020 which will generate an economic value of over $1 million in savings as patients do not have to leave the community for treatment.


    This shows investors that:

    – The entrepreneur has done their homework

    – They know what they need

    – Thought through their investment ask clearly


    Source: Miller Center

Cultivating an Investor Network

As incubators and accelerators, you are in a position to bring together a network of investors to support, or ultimately invest in your entrepreneurs.

This can be done by:

  • Building relationships with banks, crowdfunding platforms, government agencies, angel investors, and VCs
  • Undertaking projects with funders
  • Running investor-only events
  • Holding annual donor and investor trips
  • Holding fireside chats
  • Providing vetted deal flow
  • Partnering with angel networks
  • Inviting investors to participate in Diagnostic Panels and be part of Investment Committees

Practical Tip

For Investment Committees:

  • Get downstream investors who could potentially align
  • Perform due diligence of partners in those funds
  • Have a downstream investor lens at the accelerator/incubator level without conflicts

For Diagnostic Panels:

  • Select a partner with high credibility, who are generous and have integrity (no voting power)
  • Get an investor’s voice

Facilitating Transactions

Once you have your investor network, there are things you can do to help facilitate smoother, more mutually beneficial transactions between your entrepreneurs and investors.

  • 01.

    Provide investor-ready entrepreneurs

    Make sure your entrepreneurs are actually ready for investment before they meet with potential investors.


    This can be done through:

    – Funding roundtables

    – In-person and online workshops

    – Learning Management System

    – Partner workshops and programs

    – Pitch sessions

    – Investor meetings

    – Mentoring

  • 02.

    Match with quality investors

    Work with your investors prior to them meeting with your entrepreneurs so that they understand the investment process and understand what to expect.


  • 03.

    Share diligence documentation

    Share diligence notes, risks mitigated and not mitigated in a transparent manner with your investors to inspire confidence and develop trust.

  • 04.

    Strategise to Optimise

    Secure term-sheets from more than one investor to use as leverage and accelerate negotiations to receive a better valuation.


  • 05.

    Engage an Attorney

    Engage a professional attorney to advise on the implications of terms and clauses. You may wish to utilise technical assistance grants for this.


  • The State of Seed Investing in 2018

    An article from

  • Smart Impact Capital Online Training

    An online training course for raising capital from Case

  • Top 5 Crowdfunding Platforms

    An article on crowdfunding for nonprofits and social enterprises

  • ImpactSpace

    An open data and resources platform powering the global impact market

  • Accelerating the Flow of Funds into Early-Stage Ventures

    A GALI report on funding flows




    Spring exists to change the world through entrepreneurship. A certified B Corporation, Spring supports entrepreneurs who are using business as a force for good through incubation, acceleration, leaders roundtables, funding training, workshops, and ecosystem development advisory services. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Spring supports entrepreneurs via City Partners in over 10 countries around the world. Spring has supported more than 700 entrepreneurs to launch more than 300 businesses in less than five years.




    Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world. Founded in 1997, Miller Center is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University and is located in the heart of the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem, Silicon Valley. Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) helps social entrepreneurs to help more people. Since 2003 GSBI programs have accelerated 900+ social entrepreneurs, who have raised over $940M+, and positively impacted the lives of 300M+ people.





    Villgro Innovations Foundation is India’s oldest and one of the world’s largest social enterprise incubators. Established in 2001, Villgro supports innovative, impactful and successful for-profit enterprises who are tackling some of the most pressing challenges in the developing world – access to healthcare, education and modernising agricultural practices. So far, Villgro has supported over 150 social enterprises with $4.5 million in investments. These enterprises have created over 40,000 jobs, secured $17 million in follow-on funding, and impacted 19 million lives. Presently, Villgro’s unique incubation model is being replicated in Kenya, Philippines and Vietnam.




    Uncharted is the next generation of accelerator that uses the power of an entrepreneurial accelerator to address major social and environmental issues like the future of food, urban poverty, and hate and discrimination. They scale and connect organisations in three ways. 1. Accelerate: Resourcing organisations with mentors, funders, and customised training. 2. Connect: Bringing together ventures who are all tackling the same problem so they can share insights and find collaboration opportunities. 3. Empower: Giving power away and empowering others to change the world, whether through one-off specialised trainings or licensing their world-class curriculum.




Ending Well

How to best support your entrepreneurs once the program comes to a close