SEED Lab

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The Social Entrepreneurship Engagement & Development Lab (SEED) Lab is a 10-month pre-accelerator for social entrepreneurs aiming to tap the deep reservoir of unrecognized talent within marginalized and under-served communities and support their efforts to identify and develop pioneering paths out of inherited problems that have buried and muffled those voices. The program was designed to support the implementation of visionary ideas into similarly powerful tools to generate social impact, deepen civic engagement, and bring about empowerment and sustainable change. SEED Lab prioritizes social entrepreneurs who, despite their talent, commitment, vision and social impact potential, do not yet have the opportunity to be part of a learning environment, engage with fellow change makers, learn from mentors or access resources and networks.

This initiative is a collaboration between Caravanserai ProjectIndependent Sector and the Center for Social Innovation at University of California, Riverside.

The inaugural cohort meets between July 2018 and May 2019 for six on-campus modules tackling various issues related to social entrepreneurship, with guest speakers, group workshops, one-on-one sessions, customized mentorship, networking, and various other opportunities.

Selection process

For the 2018-2019 SEED Lab cohort, the application process was designed to reflect the vision and the mission of the program. Starting from February 2018, with the support of grass-roots organizations, local and regional leaders, champions and supporters of social-impact driven missions, and the University of California Riverside faculty, we identified more than 20 early stage social entrepreneurs in Southern California whose ideas and initiatives have the potential to generate positive change in their communities.

After an initial interview meant to better understand the entrepreneurs and their projects, but also share about the goals of SEED Lab, the candidates were invited to fill in the application form. Over the application period that lasted in average about 3 months, each applicant was coached and mentored, and regular calls and in-person meetings were scheduled, including site and community visits. We aimed to bring together a very diverse group encouraging applications from individuals with various backgrounds and personal and professional interests regardless of their race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, height and weight, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, partnership status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, military status, arrest record and any other characteristic protected by law.

Meet the 2018-2019 SEED Lab Cohort!


SEED Lab is made possible by generous support from The Weingart Foundation, community foundations, corporate and private donors. For additional information, please contact: Mihai Patru, Co-founder Caravanserai Project, and Senior Policy Fellow, School of Public Policy UCR, mihai@caravanseraiproject.org