The Idea

The New On-Ramp to Entrepreneurship

Idea Accelerator Alumni, black woman smiling
Idea Accelerator Alumni, brown woman smiling
Idea Accelerator Alumni, young black man smiling
Idea Accelerator Alumni, black man smiling
Idea Accelerator Alumni, two young black woman smiling
Idea Accelerator Alumni, young hispanic woman smiling
two men drawing and thinking at desk

The Idea Accelerator—a rapid-pace, 90-day, virtual program to get your idea off the sidelines and into action.

From hyper-growth tech-enabled startups and main street businesses to impact ventures and everything in between, the Idea Accelerator helps new builders get started on their entrepreneurial journey in an entirely unique way.

Participants learn to build things quickly and inexpensively by leveraging rapid experiments, no-code / low-code tools, and small bits of funding from our Pebble Fund. We increase the odds of success by building alongside rookie entrepreneurs. Together, we turn builders’ good ideas into great ones and prove which great ideas can become successful, launched ventures.

Anyone with a new or novel idea is welcome. We not only level the playing field, we demolish the barriers to entrepreneurship once and for all, and provide a pathway for all ideas (big or small) to reach their full potential (no matter where or who they come from).

Our Cohorts

The Heartland

Together with Heartland Forward, we’re stimulating entrepreneurial thinking and getting ideas off the sidelines in communities across America’s heartland states. Anyone with a creative and unexpected idea for a new business or for solving a problem facing their heartland community is encouraged to apply for one of our three cohorts per year.

HBCU Students

We’re partnering with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s) across the country to provide the funding, resources and programs to enable their students to put their entrepreneurial ideas into action. Thanks to generous funding partners, we do this without cost to the schools or their students, increasing the likelihood HBCU students will go on to launch their own new ventures.


We’re working with hospitals, health systems, innovators and funders around the world to find and fuel the most promising ideas for improving and reimaging healthcare for the future. From technologies, tools and platforms to entirely new service delivery models, we’re helping launch the most innovative new ventures.

Outdoor Recreation

More than half of Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities, and many of them have ideas for promising new companies. Together with industry partners, we’re helping unearth those ideas everywhere, from urban centers to small towns, tourist destinations, and rural communities and supporting every aspect of the country from America’s iconic natural landscapes to the strength of rural communities and U.S. manufacturing.

Female Founders

Women entrepreneurs are launching new businesses, developing innovative products and disrupting established industries in droves, but we’ve barely scratched the surface of the potential female founders hold. Together with our funding partners, we provide a no-cost, no-risk onramp (and funding!) for any woman with a novel idea to get started.


A growing wave of technology-driven megatrends is transforming and redefining the mobility industry, and with it comes incredible opportunities for new ideas, innovations and ventures. Together with our partners, we’re empowering new builders everywhere to bring their novel ideas to life and powering a mobility revolution.

Workforce Development

Education and training have long been considered routes to economic security, but current approaches leave many people unprepared for high-demand, living-wage jobs and accelerating trends toward automation and remote work are exacerbating this challenge. Together with partners like Walmart and Heartland Forward, we’re on the hunt for novel ideas, creative approaches and solutions across the nation.

Consumer Goods

Customers are more willing to try new products than ever before and digital channels make it easier than ever for innovators to market and sell products directly to them. Together with our partners we provide funding, resources and programs anyone with a new product idea can tap to get started as an entrepreneur.

The Process

How We Go From Idea to Venture

Getting Clear on the Problem & Idea
Identifying What to Test
Designing a Low-Fidelity Way to Run that Test
Using Low/No Code Tools
Putting It All Into Action
Evaluating Results & Planning Next Steps

How We Fund Early-Stage Ideas

Most ideas do not need a large amount of money to be tested. Through our philanthropic Pebble Funds, Builders have access to up to $5,000 to cover the cost of their experiments. These funds are non-dilutive and provided with an innovative deployment strategy. We work closely with every Builder to maximize the use of their funds and learn scrappy strategies they can apply throughout their entrepreneurial journey.
piggy bank drawing

"I don’t think I could have done it—gotten to this point on my own. Gett to the point where I am right now. I am very grateful and I loved it."


"The Builders + Backers Idea Accelerator is the BEST place to start! Period. Point Blank. The support is unmatched anywhere. No matter what I do or where I go, the tools and training I receive will go with me."


"Your accelerator program has been instrumental in helping our startup grow and thrive. The resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities you have provided have been invaluable."


"I am particularly grateful for the way you challenged us to push our limits and strive for excellence. Your encouragement gave us the confidence we needed to succeed"


"Being able to get a vision and a passion out of my head and into a community. I was doing it at a small rate, but to be able to work with the Builders + Backers program has been transformative."


"Before this program, I was caught up on getting things perfect on paper. Getting my idea out there and hearing the feedback + support that it got has been enlightening and motivating"


"I just wanted to build an app, it feels like I’m leaving with a venture — so grateful for the growth."


I underestimated the gravity of what I was working on and after my experiment … I’m really excited to scale it.

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That creative, compelling idea you’ve been wanting to turn into something real....Take the leap.