Congratulations to the 2023 Innovation Fund Fellows (Part 2)

by Jeshua John, on December 7, 2023 at 7:43 AM

As we prepare to announce this year’s Innovation Fund winners, we want to remind you about this talented pool of fellows.

Earlier this week we shared background on three of our 2023 Innovation Fund fellows. We had almost 400 applicants submit their ideas this year, which was focused on modernizing and making our country’s services for workers more inclusive. In this update, we’re excited to spotlight three additional fellows: Care Forest, NurseBridge, and Starlight. 

Care Forest is a doula-owned platform, led by women of color, that seeks to create mutual aid and support for doulas and other birth workers in all aspects of their work. CareForest wants doulas to feel more secure, supported, and confident in their work which contributes to a healthier and thriving community. As part of their participation in the fellowship, CareForest has learned new ideas on how to generate revenue, including by bootstrapping the business and leveraging a membership fee model. Care Forest is also hopeful that venture capitalists can find new ways of supporting different types of innovators.

NurseBridge is a Black-woman-run business-to-business, data-driven medical staffing platform that aims to address the nursing staffing crisis that disproportionately impacts rural communities. To do this, NurseBridge is re-engaging over 1 million inactive Registered Nurses. As they emerge from the fellowship, NurseBridge hopes to have a nationwide impact. They have created more than 10,000 jobs and experienced more than 150 percent growth in sales and revenue. Its founder has also recognized that her experience as a worker is an advantage that can be leveraged to genuinely catalyze transformative change.

Starlight is run by Asian co-founders seeking new ways to help struggling working families more easily access government benefits. As a company, they leverage technology to offer streamlined access to unclaimed government benefits that working families qualify to receive. During their time in the Innovation Fund fellowship, Starlight has gained valuable insights into different funding models and benefitted from conversations with potential partners and Innovation Fund alumni, including Steady and Let’s Get Set. In the next year, Starlight is poised to expand its model to more than 10 financial institutions that can increase access to government benefits with Starlight’s data insights. 

We’re proud of this year’s Innovation Fund fellows, who are driving advances for workers across a range of industries and technologies. In January, we will announce this year’s Innovation Fund winners which will receive an additional investment in their idea, as well as another full year of mentorship and support. In the meantime, we invite you to learn more about these amazing fellows and their worker-centered innovations by following the links above to their websites. 

To support our work and the ability to find and resource these amazing innovations, please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to The Workers Lab.

Topics: Learning Hub