Taking an idea from seed to success means nurturing it every step of the way. Our Accelerators are longer-term, cohort-based programs for the most promising leaders and initiatives to grow their impact.

"We have been encouraged to question assumptions, to look carefully at how we spend our time and resources, and most important, we have been supported to 'fail forward' to experiment in ways we would otherwise have not pursued."

-Julie Emden, founder of Embodied Jewish Learning

Venture Accelerator +-

For entrepreneurs and growth-stage ventures

It’s critical for entrepreneurs to step away from their ventures in order to think about their ventures. In other words, you’ve got to find the time and support to work ON your business, not just run the day-to-day.

— Ana Robbins, founder of Jewish Kids Group, Cohort 8 of the Venture Accelerator

Our community’s trailblazing rabbis, educators, and other leaders have invaluable knowledge of Jewish practice, text, and community…yet they often struggle with the business know-how and resources needed to take their organizations to the next level.

The Venture Accelerator provides a select cohort of the most promising Jewish ventures with the necessary training, connections, and funding to activate a plan for sustained growth and impact.

Over the course of 12 months, participants receive hands-on training on crucial areas of venture development. Each venture becomes a part of our trailblazing network, a diverse group of entrepreneurs, consultants, advisors, funders, and alumni. Participating ventures also gain access to a pool of unrestricted funding (up to $100K), which encourages them to experiment and maximize their growth and impact. These ventures will shape Jewish life for years to come.

Applications for Cohort 13 are now closed. Stay in the loop on future programming by subscribing to our list below.


Change Accelerator +-

For institutions and their leaders

Participating in UpStart’s Change Accelerator was definitely a highlight of my 12+ years in Jewish Communal Service in Chicago. It gave me a framework to think about a challenge through a different lens, to take risks and get out of my comfort zone, but most importantly, it gave me the skills to make an impact in executing integration and innovation within my organization.

— Robyn Brenner, Cohort 1 Fellow, Change Accelerator in Chicago

Leading change in an environment that doesn’t seem ready for it can be lonely and frustrating. Individuals within larger organizations can face obstacles, lacking authority to test bold ideas, the skills to gain buy-in across teams, and the supportive network to make it happen.

In the established institutions that drive so much of Jewish life, leaders can play a pivotal role in moving the needle.

Change Accelerators bring together a select cohort to grow their impact as Jewish communal change agents. This intensive program equips participants with practical skills to identify and launch bold initiatives that meet their constituents’ evolving needs. As they shape their idea, they are supported by a community of peers, as well as expert coaches.

Participants develop the capacity to adapt promising ideas and spark culture change within their organizations.

Applications are now closed for 2021-22 Change Accelerators. Stay in the loop on future programming by subscribing to our list below. Want to bring a Change Accelerator to your organization? Get in touch.


Field Accelerator +-

For representatives from specific sectors of Jewish life

UpStart’s curriculum, coaching and workshops have challenged our participants to boldly reexamine how they operate and to test new and innovative approaches. The program has paved the way for significant and unexpected new partnerships in our field.

— Shari Davis, former Director of Education for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Teen Initiative

To see the forest for the trees means taking a bird’s-eye view with others. Field Accelerators bring together leaders within a specific field of Jewish life, such as teen engagement or synagogue education, to lift up their field together.

As part of a cohort, participants identify bright spots and challenges in their field. They build their capacity as changemakers by developing lifelong, entrepreneurial tools. Most importantly, participants design impactful solutions to address the unique challenges within their organizations and the field.

Field Accelerators usually include a combination of workshops, coaching, and network-building activities.

Reach out to us if you’re interested in launching a Field Accelerator in your community or subscribe to our mailing list to be kept in the know.