LearnServe Incubator

A Year 2 Program for LearnServe Alumni

Applications are now being accepted for this program.  For more details on the application process and our online application, click here.  Applications are still being accepted for this program.

The LearnServe Incubator maximizes the impact of promising social ventures proposed by LearnServe Fellows, and other youth social entrepreneurs in the DC Metro area.

As a participant in the LearnServe Incubator, you will have the opportunity to test your assumptions, pilot your ideas, and refine your program model as you quickly translate ideas into action.

The LearnServe Incubator will introduce you to the Lean Startup entrepreneurship model, focused around four phases:

  • Customer Discovery – test your assumptions through interviews and surveys with potential beneficiaries and program partners.
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – Create a basic program, product, service, or tool to get off the ground
  • Reflection – Engage in a rigorous process of getting the feedback you need to modify your program, product, service, or tool – while deepening the technical leadership skills you need to build a sustainable social venture.
  • Pitch – Compete for seed funding for your venture.

2013 Coffee House

Program Components 

Program.  The LearnServe Incubator will meet every other week between September and April.  We will alternate between:

  • Deep Dive Sessions. Work with LearnServe program leaders and venture mentors to learn and apply the key elements of Lean Startup to your venture.
  • Site Visits. Visit local innovative companies and social enterprises to see what social innovation looks like in the real world (and see some really cool offices and organizations!)

Mentor Engagement. Each venture team will be paired with one mentor for the program, who will support your progress throughout the Incubator program. You will meet your mentors at the end of each Deep Dive session. We expect participants to check in virtually with their mentors between each sessions.

Entrepreneurial Framework. You’ll have the opportunity to read and reflect on rapid experimentation methodologies (e.g. lean startup and design thinking) – including Facebook conversations about these topics.

Capstone. Teams will have the opportunity to compete in a business plan competition during spring semester. For the past two years this competition has taken place at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center.


2014 Fellows volunteering at the annual Veg Fest in DC

Application Process

Eligibility. LearnServe welcomes applications from alumni of the LearnServe Fellows ProgramLearnServe Abroad Program, or a school-based “Seeding Social Innovation” social entrepreneurship course. If you have started a social venture but are not part of one of the groups mentioned above, contact fellows@learn-serve.org.  Click for more information on applying.

Deadline. The application is due on June 15, 2017.  There are two parts to the application process, described here.

Interview. After you have turned in your application, you will be asked to do an interview with the team to talk us through the progress of your venture. In other words, weʼll want you to tell us how you plan to implement your venture as soon as possible and how.

Program Costs

There is a non-refundable enrollment fee of $500 for the Incubator Program.

As with all LearnServe programs, financial aid is available, and we will not turn students away for financial reasons.


For more information, please contact Scott Rechler (scott@learn-serve.org).