THE CAMELBACK FELLOWSHIP
Camelback Ventures supports the growth and empowerment of livable communities; our tool of change is entrepreneurship. We provide a rigorous accelerator, known as the Camelback Fellowship, for untapped entrepreneurs. At this time, we are focused on tackling these three impact areas first: 1) Education, 2) Conscious Tech, and 3) Local Economies.
The Camelback Fellowship is a six-month program that supports the development of both founder and venture. Since 2015, Camelback has supported over 60 entrepreneurs of color and women (many of whom have been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30, received fellowships such as Echoing Green and Richards Draper Kaplan, and collectively gone on to raise over $26 million).
At this time, Camelback has three tracks: 1) Education, 2) Conscious Tech, and 3) Local Economies (formerly known as our “Good Jobs Initiative”). Camelback has created unique pathways for each track, and tailors curriculum and needs for each individual Fellow once they are accepted into our program. Education and Conscious Tech operate nationally and concurrently; Local Economies is based in New Orleans and features curriculum tailored for local businesses. The 2020 Camelback Fellowship will run from January 2020 through June 2020. (To learn more about how to apply and the 2020 cycle, click here.)
We emphasize our support in five specific areas: coaching, capital, connections, community, and curriculum. Camelback invests time and energy into each Fellow through coaching, capital, and connections. We believe these pillars are critical to the evolution and success of any organization, and notably, there is a systemic lack of access to these for people of color and women. Years of work have told us how critical is to build community leaders of color, and the experience is rooted in creating space for these relationships. The Camelback Education Fellowship focuses heavily on our carefully curated curriculum, an entrepreneurial growth program delivered through a series of Summits, virtual programming, and coaching.*
To learn more, click on one of the “5 C’s” below or keep scrolling to learn about all aspects of the Fellowship.
Y'all see this alliteration? But seriously, these really are the tenets of our approach, and not just because they start with a c.
Camelback literally changed my life. The aha moment for me was at the first summit in New Orleans. I had this moment where I just looked around, and I got very emotional. I told myself, “Vince, man, you cannot cry. You just met these people yesterday.” I constantly had these waves of thoughts, “Am I really going to do this? Am I really trying to lead my own organization?”
READ MORE FROM FELLOWS IN OUR BLOG →
Camelback gives each Fellow their own coach. This dedicated 1:1 coaching enables regular strategy, accountability, and thought partnership. Coaches can help with anything from listening to your pitch to making introductions to analyzing pricing strategies. Camelback also provides specialized coaching in key areas (such as developing measures of success or pitch deck design), and facilitates peer mentorship sessions within each purposefully chosen cohort.
For our Local Economies track, we are able to go one step further -- Camelback Fellows receive a closer, extended relationship with each subject facilitator as well as long-term growth strategy check-ins and support from dedicated Camelback staff.
Since we began, we have found that the impact of unrestricted capital empowers entrepreneurs of color exponentially. So, we have fine-tuned a funding strategy to be able to support all of our Camelback Fellows in a “friends and family” stage.
In Education and Conscious Tech, we support early stage, startup organizations (nonprofits, hybrids, for-profits) with an investment of up to $40,000 in each venture. Fellows have used this money for a variety of things, such as running a pilot program, hiring an app developer, going full-time on their venture, traveling to high profile industry conferences, buying new equipment, and funding the development of new community spaces.
In Local Economies, we support organizations that have already existed for 3+ years and continue to grow; our support has been tailored for the needs of those organizations. We provide those leaders with more in-kind services, more 1:1 growth and business strategy consulting, and an angel gift of up to $3,000 along with a pitch competition at the end of the cycle.
Camelback facilitates the building of important relationships for Fellows in a number of ways, both during and after the Fellowship. There are opportunities to meet with investors, strategic partnerships, and possible customers throughout the program. Camelback also provides opportunities for attendance at notable conferences and gatherings in each sector.
Camelback Fellows in the Education and Conscious Tech tracks meet in three Summits over the course of the program; each Summit features workshops with field experts and community networking events.
Camelback Fellows in Local Economies meet twice a week for multiple months and are invited to a series of local networking opportunities, and also have access to Camelback’s co-working office. They become more deeply embedded in the entrepreneurial and civic network of New Orleans with Camelback.
The entrepreneurial journey can often be a lonely one, but it doesn’t have to be. For people of color and women, the space to connect and learn from like-minded peers with similar struggles and successes is paramount. Whether it’s asking if someone has a recommendation for a developer studio or applauding your most recent win, the Camelback fam has got you covered. Camelback prioritizes the building of a close community whenever possible, and will connect Fellows from across all three tracks with Summits, digital connections, and additional in-person gatherings. We have begun to host Family Reunions and other initiatives to support alumni engagement and continued venture success. We think our Fellows tell it best; read their stories and explore their work.
We prioritize the hustle over the hype. We studied the top reasons why startups fail, and we know entrepreneurs of color and women face additional hurdles. So, we’ve built an entrepreneurial curriculum to help our founders build a solid foundation for success. Our programming features our own content in combination with workshops with content experts. We cover everything from discovering and refining your personal management style (which is a whole other thing from leadership!), to identifying future partners and creating unique outreach plans, to getting your story and pitch strong you land a perfect 10 with any audience.
In our Education and Conscious Tech tracks, our curriculum is largely delivered through our three Summits that are held over the course of the Fellowship. We combine this with virtual learning opportunities, access to content experts, peer support, and 1:1 coaching throughout the Fellowship.
In our Local Economies track, this curriculum is delivered through two 2.5-3 hour gatherings per week (after standard business hours). The Local Economies track curriculum covers all of the anchoring content from our Education and Conscious Leadership tracks but supplements it with specific knowledge and learning tailored for business owners to thrive in New Orleans (for example, understanding how industry and business market have shifted after Katrina and how that translates for their business strategy). Popular sessions include pricing strategies, market research, determining true costs, financial management, team management, personal leadership, distribution and sales, and local marketing.
* If you want to know how and why we built this program, we invite you to read our Strategic Plan.