2022/2023 Innovation Fund Applications Are Now Being Accepted!

by Jeshua John, on December 7, 2022 at 2:58 PM

The Workers Lab is now accepting applications for the 2022/2023 Innovation Fund cycle! We’re seeking innovators with early-stage ideas centered around making the ways our country serves workers more modern and inclusive. Submissions will be accepted through March 27, 2023. 

Far too many worker-led ideas, especially those by entrepreneurs of color and women, never see the light of day since they historically receive only a tiny fraction of the early investment enjoyed by others. The Workers Lab seeks to change that dynamic and highly encourages innovators who are from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented among those who receive venture capital and startup funding. 

  • Do you have an innovative way to solve problems facing workers? 
  • Do you have a new approach to an existing idea? 
  • Do you have an idea that helps workers in new geographies, underrepresented industries, or communities that have been historically excluded? 
  • Do you get excited about testing your ideas, sharing them with others, and trying to get them off the ground? 

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions: You’re an innovator and we want to know about your idea!

If you know someone who would answer "yes" to these questions: You're a connector. And, we need your help sharing this information with them.

Here’s What You Need to Know About The 2022/2023 Innovation Fund

  • Entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs are highly encouraged to apply for this cycle. 
  • Applications will be accepted between December 2022 and March 27, 2023. 
  • Up to six fellows will be selected from the application pool to participate in a four-month program designed to provide training, mentorship, and customized support that brings their idea to life and sets them up for larger-scale investment. Fellows will receive a stipend of $5,000 per month and will participate in programming for 8-10 hours per month. 
  • At the end of the four-month fellowship, at least one and up to three final Innovation Fund winners will be selected to receive a larger investment of up to $200,000 in their idea, as well as another full year of mentorship and support.

Here’s How To Get Started.

Step 1: Review the timeline, selection criteria, and FAQs

After several cycles of the Innovation Fund, we’re familiar with the questions you might have. We recommend you start with a review of the timeline, selection criteria, and frequently asked questions which are linked here, in the “additional resources” section at the bottom of the page.

Step 2: Attend a live webinar  to learn more about this cycle

We will also host two live webinars (Jan 18 and Feb 7) for interested applicants with dedicated time for audience Q&A. You only need to attend one. If you are unable to attend either one, register to access a recording that you can watch on demand.

  • Register here for live session 1: Wednesday, January 18 (12-1 pm PT / 3-4 pm ET)
  • Register here for live session 2: Tuesday, February 7 (11 am-12 pm PT / 2-3 pm ET)

Optional Step 3: Visit us during office hours

We will hold weekly office hours, every Friday between January 27 and March 17. These are one-on-one sessions designed to answer questions specific to your organization and the project you plan to submit. It is expected that applicants complete the first two steps before signing up for office hours. These sessions are only for applicants with questions and are limited to one per organization. Office hour participation does not have an impact on our Innovation Fund decisions, it is purely a supportive resource for applicants. Registration for office hours will open in January.

Step 4: Apply to the Innovation Fund

Visit the Innovation Fund page to apply through our Award Force platform. You will need to set up an account with Award Force to get started if you don’t already have one. Don’t forget to save your application as you go, so that you can return to your draft at any time before the due date. Submissions will be accepted through March 27, 2023. 

You can also start your application here.

The Workers Lab, along with our partners at the Workers Benefit Fund, look forward to learning more about your innovations for workers.

Topics: The Innovation Fund