[Impact Lab: Nashville]

A funding readiness curriculum to evaluate and advance social ventures.

Nashville, TN // July 31- August 4, 2017

Apply Here!

This Nashville Funding Readiness Lab is a five-day accelerator designed to help ventures understand the fundraising process and prepare to take on investment. The ideal participants have an existing product, first users and are focused on systematically scaling their venture. The curriculum will be supported by world-class mentors, a community of fellow entrepreneurs, and participants will be equipped with the skills they need to seek investment.

Why Nashville:
While Nashville is often recognized for its world-famous music industry and thriving healthcare scene, its startup and social enterprise community has gained impressive traction in recent years. With the National Social Enterprise Alliance moving its headquarters to the city, Belmont University offering the nation’s first Social Entrepreneurship major, and a wealth of mission-driven companies like Warby Parker, Nisolo and Everly finding a home here, Nashville has a unique appeal for students, postgraduates and mid-career professionals looking to create or join companies that have a purpose beyond profits.

Get Involved: Apply to be an entrepreneur, become a mentor, be a sponsor, or help our Lab team find entrepreneurs. Read on to get involved!


The Problem

Fundraising can be a hard, confusing, and long process. How much money should I raise? What type of capital? Whom do I talk to and how do I build relationships with funders? What should I do in an investor meeting? How to I get the money into our bank account so I can get back to building my business? Having an answer to these questions often translates into successfully closing a round of funding. But the reality is that only a handful of entrepreneurs have a clear understanding of the process (and how long it takes) before they start fundraising. They get lost and without direction, they do not take the lead and closing a round becomes painful and time consuming.

The Lab & Curriculum

The Investment Preparedness Lab is designed to do one thing: help entrepreneurs be more prepared to raise funding. Entrepreneurs will:

Understand the steps of the investment process and what is needed to be prepared at each step.

Diagnose where a venture is in preparedness for those steps, build a full plan for how to get ready, and actively work to get more prepared.

Meet with actual funders to get feedback and practice building investor interest.

Daily Schedule

The curriculum of the Lab oscillates between in-classroom workshop time and tons of hands-on work time.

  • Connector.

    Day 1

    Starts with a brief orientation and workshop that demystifies the fundraising process, followed by an afternoon dedicated to starting to build a strategic plan.

  • Connector.

    Day 2

    Starts with building financial statements then learning about various types of capital. During the afternoon entrepreneurs will design a fundraising action plan.

  • Connector.

    Day 3

    Begins with a workshop on how to build powerful relationships with funders, followed by a pitch workshop. Then entrepreneurs will build a massive list of potential funders.

  • Connector.

    Day 4

    Capital Advisor day when experts in early stage funding will attend the Lab to work directly with and give feedback to the entrepreneurs.

  • Connector.

    Day 5

    Spent on deal negotiation, getting important due diligence materials together, and designing an action plan for the next three months.

Tangible Outcomes

By the end of Lab entrepreneurs will have something to show for their work. They will have:

  • Learned what the fundraising process looks like from start to finish and the elements needed to succeed in raising funding
  • Diagnosed how prepared (or unprepared) they on these various elements of funding preparedness, giving them a snapshot of where they are
  • Actively worked on various elements to become more prepared to raise funding (for example: develop their financials, write a strategic plan, clarify their funding ask, develop their pitch materials)
  • Created a list of at least 30 potential funders and learned quick research and outreach techniques to find and connect with even more when they leave
  • Learned a methodology for how to build strong relationships with funders – relationships that get stronger over time which will help make their funding case stronger over time
  • Completed funding readiness “reality checks” with 4 – 5 real funders and received real and honest feedback on their investment preparedness
  • Designed a strategic plan to become funding ready and identified the tools to get there
  • Drastically increased their confidence level about leading an investor meeting which will lead to far more productive meetings with future potential funders


Interested in mentoring? Email Hannah Pechan.

Audra Ladd
Manager of small business, entrepreneurship, and the creative economy in Mayor Barry’s Office of Economic and Community Development.

Mario Avila
Director of the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures at Vanderbilt University. He was also the CEO of Emerge and founder of Contigo Financial, a socially-responsible consumer lender.

Patrick Woodyard
Founder & CEO of Nisolo, a luxury leather goods social enterprise that offers global artisans access to the US market. Patrick is a former Unreasonable Institute Entrepreneur and Fellow.

Dr. Turner Nashe
Partner and President of IDS at Dev Digital LLC. Dr. Nashe is a recognized leader in building technology that facilitates delivery of educational content to prisons.

FAQ’s & More About This Program

Application and Selection
Apply HERE or by scrolling up and clicking on the pink button that says “Applications Open // Apply by June 21” in the center of the header section.
Entrepreneurs who are eligible are:

  • Committed to social and environmental impact with their venture
  • Able to attend the complete lab
  • Able to pay tuition if selected
  • Based in the southeast United States
  • 18 years of age or older
This Investment Preparedness Lab is designed for early- to mid-stage entrepreneurs who:

  • Are preparing to take on capital in the next 6-12 months
  • Have generated sales and have paying customers for their product or service
    The Investment Preparedness Lab can serve entrepreneurs in the prototype/pilot stage, the early customer traction stage, and established customer traction stage.
Entrepreneurs will complete the short online application (link above). Then the Impact Lab: Nashville team will review all submitted applications and schedule 30-minute interviews with those who move on. After the interviews, 10-12 entrepreneurs will be offered a spot in the Lab.
The total cost for the lab is $750 per team. Lodging and travel cost is not included.

The Lab Team will work with any entrepreneur who is accepted to attend the Lab but unable to pay. If you are concerned about the cost, contact Hannah Pechan.

Lab Details
If you are accepted to attend the Lab, we will ask that you attend the Lab in its entirety. The curriculum is cohesive and builds upon itself, meaning that if you miss a day, you will be at a significant disadvantage.
Each Day is different!

The Lab will feature both time in the classroom and time dedicated to working with mentors. Throughout the course of the Lab, you will have plenty of time to work and rest. Taking time to digest the material is an important piece of acceleration!

Day 1: Day 1 starts with a brief orientation and workshop in the morning, followed by an afternoon dedicated to building a strategic plan.

Day 2: Day 2 starts with two workshops designed to build the entrepreneurs’ financial skills. During the afternoon entrepreneurs will design a fundraising action plan.

Day 3: Day 3 begins with a workshop on how to build powerful relationships, followed by a pitch workshop. Then entrepreneurs will build a massive list of potential funders.

Day 4: Day four is Capital Adviser day when experts in early stage funding will attend the lab to work directly with the entrepreneurs.

Day 5: Day 5 is spent on deal negotiation, getting important due diligence materials together, and designing an action plan for the next three months.

Lodging is not provided. However, we are happy to make recommendations and work with accepted teams to find affordable accomodations.
You will only gain access to the network of mentors and entrepreneurs who attend this Lab.
Click here to email questions to the Impact Lab: Nashville team.
Be a Supporter
If you are interested in being a mentor we would love to share a conversation with you.

Ideal mentors

  • Have experience scaling a venture or multiple ventures
  • Understand and appreciate the power of business to be a force for good
  • Believe in the power of social enterprise to change the world
  • Preferably have experience mentoring entrepreneurs

Click here to email Hannah Pechan to discuss becoming a mentor.

We call the people who help us find venture Pipeline Partners. If you are interested in helping us find ventures we would love to share a conversation with you. Click here to email Hannah Pechan to discuss becoming a Pipeline Partner.
We would love to explore sponsorship opportunities with you. Click here to email Hannah Pechan to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Pipeline Partners

Pipeline Partners are organizations that help us find the entrepreneurs. Like us, they support entrepreneurs doing good in the world. If you want to become a Pipeline Partner for this Lab, please email Hannah Pechan.


Email Hannah Pechan to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

Red Bull
Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Our Team

Hannah Pechan
Founder and Director

Regina Andrade
Steering Committee

Brooke Jacobson
Steering Committee

Maddie Polk
Steering Committee

Sara Rains
Steering Committee