For an accelerator that’s been present in the United States for just two years, the BBVA Momentum program is creating expansive opportunity for American social entrepreneurs.
Run by BBVA Compass in the U.S., the accelerator’s curriculum aims to help social entrepreneurs tackle their greatest challenges, learn from mentors, plan for growth and deepen their impact.
The five-month accelerator has been helping social entrepreneurs scale and increase operations in several countries since 2011, including Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Turkey. Last year, the program launched its first United States accelerator and awarded $80,000 to social entrepreneurs working in opportunity employment, education access and girls’ empowerment (Café Momentum, Education Open Doors and Chicks with Class).
When reflecting on the opportunity, last year’s finalist, Chad Houser of Cafe Momentum, said:
BBVA Momentum creates an incredible foundation for social entrepreneurs…It’s more than the $50,000. The human capital that’s invested gives you the opportunity to create a higher return investment…we’re going to be able to significantly increase our hours of influence and hours of impact with our kids, making this program that much stronger.
This year, the program has gone above and beyond its first year, awarding a combined $125,000 to three social enterprises doing great work in communities across America. On the Road Lending — a business that makes fuel-efficient vehicles accessible to underrepresented workers with weak credit — was named the top finalist taking home $75,000 from the program.
The Dallas-based social enterprise is determined to make economic progression possible for those with lower skills, by increasing access to transportation and therefore access to stable work opportunities. The fact that each vehicle is fuel-efficient and improves regional air quality just adds to an already transformative mission. On the Road Lending was one of five finalists, accompanied by Skratch, Pathlight HOME, Wanderstay Hotels and 400 Voices.
BBVA Momentum is open to any social entrepreneurs in the bank’s seven-state locations — Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas — as well as international cities. The program accepts 35 social entrepreneurs from the U.S. to participate.
Participants receive three rounds of multiple-day intensive training from executives at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, where they discuss everything from financial planning to marketing, pitching investors and more. In 2019, BBVA plans to grow the cohort even more. Tony Moraga, BBVA Compass’s Vice President and Manager of Social Impact shared:
It’s essential for us to support as many viable enterprises as we can to increase their impact and shine a brighter spotlight on the social enterprise movement.
Interested in participating? We’re partnering with BBVA again to share this opportunity with our network. Keep an eye on our channels for details on the 2019 program.