Our Academy

Academy

Overview

Our Academy is a year-long entrepreneurship certificate program to support entrepreneurs in creating plans, improving operations, accessing capital, and developing leadership capabilities to build resilient businesses with social impact.

What You Will Learn

You will receive rigorous and hands-on education and mentorship designed to support you in planning, growing, funding, and leading your small business in alignment with your social impact mission.

What You Will Learn

Learn more about the courses you will take in our Academy.

QUARTER 1
Plan Your Business

QUARTER 2
Grow Your Business

QUARTER 3
Fund Your Business

QUARTER 4
Lead Your Business

Who is Eligible?

We will select up to 12 businesses per location to participate in the Academy in each enrollment period.

Individual Criteria

  • Entrepreneur who founded, owns a majority stake, and manages the day-to-day operations of a business that meets the criteria below
  • Have experience in the field in which you are starting a business or operating an existing business
  • Current resident of Oakland, San Francisco, or Boston metropolitan areas
  • At least 21 years or older as of the application deadline
  • Proficient in English
  • Able to commit 15-20 hours per week to building your business

Business Criteria

  • Existing business with sales to customers or letters of intent for potential sales to customers
  • Has the potential for meaningful positive social, environmental, and economic impact in your local community
  • Has an online presence for the business through a website and social media
  • Generating less than $30,000 in sales over the last year
  • Has not received more than $10,000 of outside funding (e.g., pitch competitions, crowdfunding, loans, equity)

Commit to Building Your Business

Average time commitment for our Academy is 15-20 hours / week dedicated to building your business. A typical week for our Academy entrepreneurs consists of participation in two weekly workshops, business development activities, one-on-one mentorship sessions, peer groups, and required readings and research.

Join Our Academy

Our Academy is offered during the following times.

Boston

Enrollment PeriodProgram DatesApplication Deadline
Winter 2021February 2021 – April 2022January 8, 2021
Spring/Summer 2021June 2021 – August 2022April 30, 2021
Fall 2021September 2021 – December 2022August 13, 2021

OAKLAND

Enrollment PeriodProgram DatesApplication Deadline
Winter 2021February 2021 – April 2022January 8, 2021
Spring/Summer 2021June 2021 – August 2022April 30, 2021
Fall 2021September 2021 – December 2022August 13, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO

Enrollment PeriodProgram DatesApplication Deadline
Winter 2021February 2021 – April 2022January 8, 2021
Spring/Summer 2021June 2021 – August 2022April 30, 2021
Fall 2021September 2021 – December 2022August 13, 2021

How Much It Costs

The cost of our Academy consists of a monthly fee over your 15-month enrollment period. Monthly fees are determined on a sliding scale based on household income.

< $35,000 Household Income$35,000 – $50,000 Household Income$50,000 – $100,000 Household Income > $100,000
Household Income
$25 / month$50 / month$200 / month$400 / month

In addition, we charge a one-time $50 non-refundable deposit to enroll in our Academy.

Financial Assistance

We offer merit-based scholarships for entrepreneurs of color in our Academy through our Impact Fellowship and Worker Cooperative Fellowship programs.

Impact Fellowship

Our Impact Fellowship recognizes entrepreneurs of color who have businesses with high potential social impact in their communities. In each enrollment cycle, we select up to three Impact Fellows in each of our communities of Boston, Oakland, San Francisco.

Worker Cooperative Fellowship

Our Worker Cooperative Fellowship recognizes founding teams of color who are looking to develop worker cooperative businesses in their communities. In each enrollment cycle, we select up to one Worker Cooperative Fellowship team in each of our communities of Boston, Oakland, San Francisco.

What Our Fellows Receive

Our Fellows receive:

  • A full scholarship to cover course fees for our Academy
  • Access to additional Fellow convenings, resources, and support to expand your social impact
  • Worker Cooperative Fellowship teams receive legal support to set up their cooperative

How Can I Be Considered for a Fellowship?

Every applicant to our Academy will be considered for our Fellowship programs.

How Will I Know if I Have Been Selected for a Fellowship?

Fellows will be selected by our local selection teams through the Academy selection process and will be notified at the same time as they are notified of their acceptance to the Academy.

FAQs

Do I have to be a resident in one of those metropolitan areas (Boston, Oakland, San Francisco areas) to apply?

We are committed to supporting the local economies where we run our programs. As such, you must be a resident in a metropolitan area where we have a location, either Boston, Oakland, or San Francisco metropolitan areas.

What is the value of the Academy program?

The full value of our Academy is over $10,000. Given the current economic situation, we are subsidizing the majority of the cost of the Academy for all entrepreneurs of color. By completing the Academy, you will have the knowledge, tools, and network necessary to successfully grow your business and social impact.

What kind of businesses are you looking for?

We encourage those who are passionate about creating sustainable impact in their community to apply. Some of the entrepreneurs and small business owners we have worked with in the past include, but are not limited to, those in arts and culture, health and wellness, food and beverage, retail and eCommerce, manufacturing, and services.

What if I am unable to complete the one-year commitment if I am chosen?

All Academy entrepreneurs are required to sign a statement of agreement indicating their commitment to the year-long program. In the event that an Academy entrepreneur must withdraw from the program prematurely or has not meet requirements for continuation from one quarter to the next, you will only owe for the months you were enrolled in the Academy.

What kind of positive social, environmental, and economic impact are you looking
for?

We are looking for entrepreneurs who believe in advancing principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. This includes businesses and business concepts that provide for cultural expression, create good jobs, advance worker ownership and democracy, utilize sustainable production methods, shift to zero waste, among other practices.

What does it mean to be a member-owner of Uptima?

Becoming a member of Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative means you become a part of a cooperative community that invests in each other, shares in our profits, and has a say in how we are run.

Are Academy entrepreneurs eligible to become member-owners of Uptima?

All Uptima entrepreneurs who complete a certain level of our programs and are in good standing on their course fees are eligible to become member-owners of Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative. Entrepreneurs who are interested in becoming member-owners will need to go through the membership process.

What happens after I complete the Academy program?

As an Academy graduate, you will have the opportunity to become a member-owner of Uptima Entrepreneur Cooperative. Academy graduates who are interested in becoming member-owners will need to go through the membership process.

Own Your Future