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Accelerator FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions Topics


About the Accelerator

Why should I join the accelerator?

Teams join the accelerator for a variety of reasons: to develop a project or program they have already been working on as an organization, to gain an understanding of social impact design tools and steps through experience, or to provide a solution to an issue they have noticed in their community. If you feel that you have (1) a project idea that clearly addresses a need in your community, (2) a dedicated and collaborative team, (3) curiosity towards project management and social impact design skills, and (4) desire to join an experiential learning community—you should join the accelerator!

Should I have a project idea before joining?

You do not need to have a fully developed project idea, but you should have an idea of the kind of impact you want to make on your community. The accelerator program will help you and your team develop your idea.

Do I need to have experience with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to participate?

No, you do not need to have experience with SDGs to participate. However, we encourage you to explore the topic of sustainability if you are interested in applying to the accelerator. Visit the United Nations website to learn more about the SDGs.


Eligibility

Who is best suited to join the Accelerator?

We are looking for people who desire to make an impact on their community and who have the time to participate in the accelerator.

Is there a participation age limit or minimum education requirement?

We welcome participants 18 years and older who are in university, graduate school, have just started working, and others who have been working for some time.

Do team members need to be VIA alumni?

No, you do not have to be a VIA alumni. We welcome everyone to apply.

What English level should I have?

We ask that participants are comfortable communicating (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in English. However, you do not need to have perfect English.

What is the time commitment?

During the 2-month intensive period, participants will engage in 8 weekly 90-minute intensive all-cohort calls. During the remaining 4 months, participants will engage in 4 monthly 90-minute post-intensive calls.


Application Process

What is the application and interview process?

Process: Once the application is opened, you can submit your application anytime until the deadline listed on the accelerator homepage. Selected applications will be invited to an interview. We recommend submitting your application early as VIA conducts interviews and offers financial need-based discounts on a rolling basis. Any questions about the application process should be directed to Yuki Ueda at yuki@viaprograms.org.

Does VIA offer financial support if our team cannot afford the program fee?

VIA is committed to supporting aspiring social impact leaders regardless of their financial circumstances. VIA offers a sliding scale for the program fee and asks teams to self-identify their current financial status. Teams are not required to show any proof of their financial status.

What is VIA looking for when selecting Accelerator teams?

VIA will select teams based on their experience, qualifications, vision for their community, potential to build a resilient team, and potential to develop an effective social impact project. In particular, we are looking for teams with the following interests and abilities:

  • Interests
    • Interest in VIA’s mission and approach to experiential learning (experience with VIA is beneficial)
    • Interest in addressing local challenges related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    • Interest in developing leadership, facilitation, and collaboration skills
    • Interest in collaborating locally, internationally, and across disciplines
    • Interest in staying connected and actively contributing to VIA’s global community
    • A desire to provide support to and be supported by peers from other teams
  • Abilities
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential as a collaborative leader
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential to create buy-in and inspire a shared vision with collaborators
    • Demonstrated experience or strong potential to actively recruit and involve others, including individuals and potential partner organizations
    • Comfortable with learning, discussing, and presenting in English

How many teams are accepted from each country?

We don’t limit teams by country. However, we do try to have a diverse representation of countries and project themes. We will only accept 3-5 teams in total per cohort.


Participation

What online platforms or apps are used for the Accelerator?

The accelerator takes place synchronously over Zoom and asynchronously on the Crew platform (also known as Launchpad).

How will I interact with others?

Participants will interact with each other on both of these platforms, as well as their teammates either over Zoom or in-person.

What’s the schedule like?

Teams will participate in an “intensive” period for two months (four 90 minute calls per month), and a “post-intensive” period for four months (one 90 minute call per month). During the post-intensive period, teams will meet with a designated Fellow on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Daily, teams are expected to be in communication and working on accelerator assignments or project implementation.


Teams and Cohorts

Do I need to have a team already? Can you connect me to other leaders?

It is great to have a team in place already, but if you need help connecting with other leaders, VIA has a wide network of changemakers with whom we can connect you. What is most important about a team is not when it is established, but that the team is able to collaborate, is committed to both participating in the accelerator and seeing their project through, and is able to operate sustainably (meaning the team will not fall apart once the accelerator is over).

What stage should my team be at?

We work with teams at a variety of stages, from newly born projects to established organizations. As long as your team meets the aforementioned criteria, we are happy to meet with you!

Who else will be in my cohort?

Participants come from all across East and Southeast Asia. In the past, we have worked with two teams from Japan, three teams from Thailand, one team from the Philippines and Indonesia each, five teams from Myanmar, and even one team in the US!


Completion and Post-Accelerator Opportunities

Will I receive a certificate of completion?

Yes! After completing all of the priority activities to a satisfactory level, as decided by VIA, you will receive a certificate.

What do teams do after the Accelerator?

Post-accelerator, teams go on to do a variety of things both professionally and personally. Some teams continue to expand and develop their programming, while others use the international education experience to apply for other programs, such as scholarships, graduate school, or jobs. Some individual participants apply to become Program Fellows for the following cohort.

Will VIA provide funding for my project?

Project funding is not a core element of the accelerator program; however, VIA can and will connect you with funding opportunities that are more specific to your project.