5 Great Organizations Supporting Those With Big Ideas

In such a competitive world, new entrepreneurs often find it challenging to come up with the funding and professional support they need to get their businesses off the ground. Luckily, many venture capital firms and organizations exist to champion fresh, innovative ideas and the people behind them. This list, in no particular order, showcases several groups doing just that.

Kicking off our list at #1 is Echoing Green. Through fellowships and other leadership initiatives, this organization aims to identify emerging figures in the nonprofit world and invest in their future through seed-funding and professional development.

Some of the issues that these fellows work on include climate change, education, health, and racial justice. One well-known participant, Wendy Kopp, went on to create the education program Teach for America; another is Raj Panjabi, who co-founded Last Mile Health.

Next up, at #2, we have Launch NY, a nonprofit venture development organization funding projects in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Binghamton. It provides pro bono mentoring and access to risk capital for high-growth startups.

Launch NY's Investor Network allows local venture capitalists to finance projects in their own communities. Investors can participate in the organization's Opportunity Funds project, designed to stimulate startup activity in low-income areas.

The #3 entry is Propeller. This organization aims to help nonprofits and small businesses expand their work to tackle social and environmental disparities in New Orleans. Its principal project is the Impact Accelerator, a free program designed to help entrepreneurs start, grow, and transform their businesses.

Propeller's ten-thousand-square-foot Incubator building offers a collaborative work and meeting space for small business owners, nonprofit leaders, and community members. The space is also available to rent for events, and can accommodate gatherings of all sizes.

For the #4 entry, we present Village Capital, a venture investment firm that funds impact-driven, seed-stage startups that are primarily focused on one of three areas: sustainability, financial health, and the future of work. The company has offices worldwide in places such as Washington, DC, Mexico City, and London.

A group led by Ross Baird and Bob Pattillo launched Village Capital in 2009 in an effort to democratize entrepreneurship. Its accelerator programs help early-stage founders understand their ventures through an investor's eyes by bringing together companies with similar missions and connecting them with mentors.

Last but not least, at #5, we have Tech Ranch, a company that strives to equip entrepreneurs and business ecosystems with insights, techniques, tools, and processes that develop both the community and business owners. It works to connect start-ups with large corporations, such as Dell and Apple, to drive disruptive innovation.

Tech Ranch has several ways to support investors. The organization can direct them to validated start-up companies for potential investment through its global network of entrepreneurs, and for those who are already working with a tech start-up, TR can train the onboarded entrepreneurs with the hopes that they will become more successful.