2024/2025 cohort

SEED Lab is an 8-month (90 hours) pre-accelerator for early-stage social entrepreneurs. Developed in partnership with the University of California – Riverside Extension, it aims to tap the deep reservoir of unrecognized talent within historically marginalized and under-served communities and support their efforts to identify and develop pioneering paths out of inherited problems that have buried and muffled those voices.

The program is designed to support the implementation of visionary ideas into similarly powerful tools to generate social impact, deepen civic engagement, and bring about empowerment and sustainable change.


  • 95% of the SEED Lab fellows are women and/or representing minority groups 
  • 100% of the SEED Lab fellows come from diverse backgrounds which traditionally are not represented in the entrepreneurship sector 
  • SEED Lab fellows have access to funding opportunities. Since 2022, each cohort of fellows accessed a total of over $300,000 worth of capital as part of the program

The SEED Lab Pre-accelerator program is offered in partnership with University of California Riverside Extension


  • 90 hours of customized training and mentorship (online and in person)
  • Full and partial scholarships available
  • $15k program value (customized training, mentoring, coaching, technical support, professional certificate, access to resources) 
  • Specialized Certificate and 9 professional credits awarded by University of California in Riverside – Extension
  • Support to launch, pilot and/or scale mission-driven ventures
  • Access to local leaders, captains of various industries and experts and resources 
  • Lifetime access to the Caravanserai Project alumni network, exclusive events, resources, partner introductions, networking opportunities, pro-bono or discounted programs and services and ongoing mentorship from our network of expert.


Up to $10K in seed investments (conditions apply)


Application period: April 16 – August 31, 2024 (11:59 pm PDT)

Cohort announcement: October 1, 2024


  • 90 hours of customized training and mentorship (online and in person) over 8 months
  • 9-10 hours monthly of structured cohort focused program (virtually)
  • 2 hours weekly of individually implementing program tools
  • 2 hours per month of individual mentoring and coaching


  • $0 application fee
  • 0% Equity required for participation
  • $8,500 program fee per venture (covers up to two team members), due by program start. Full and partial scholarships are available.

CURRICULUM - 5 priority tracks

  • Social Value: focus on social mission, vision, theory of change, communications strategies, product/service development, measuring and monitoring impact, program’s benefits, community engagement etc. 
  • Market: focus on beneficiaries/customers, competition, partnerships, branding and messaging, marketing etc.
  • Finance: business planning, budgeting, pricing strategies, resource management, fundraising etc.
  • Implementation: program design, operational and start-up planning, data analysis, testing, piloting, scaling etc.
  • Leadership: public speaking, pitching, board development, team development, basic legal aspects, etc.


“Supportive, change the world …. motivational”

“Growth, a foundation for us and community … those are the three words I would use to describe the program”

The 2022/2023 SEED Lab Cohort sharing their experience as part of the Pre-accelerator


*Priority given to Southern California based entrepreneurs/ventures


  • Able to commit to an 8-month intensive program
  • Applicant must be over 18 years old, good command of the English language
  • Decision-making role in the venture
  • Applicant needs to be based in the United States. Caravanserai Project does not sponsor American work permits for any foreign nationals


  • Must be the original idea of the applicant(s), in its start-up phase 
  • Nonprofits, for-profits, or hybrids are welcome to apply. The venture does not need to be  legally incorporated to apply
  • Does not only have to be run by one individual. Partners can apply to the program
  • It must be independent and autonomous. It cannot be under the management of another organization. The venture can have a fiscal sponsor


  • For ventures with multiple partners, only two founders may apply per organization
  • Both applicants within the partnership must meet all Applicant Eligibility requirements
  • A partner cannot be swapped for another during the program
  • Partnerships must submit a joint application for their project. Separate applications for the venture will not be considered


Application Policies

  • Submit your application online. Only applications submitted through the application website will be accepted. No exceptions!
  • Additional information can be submitted if requested.
  • Partnerships must submit a joint application for their project. Applicants who choose to apply as part of a partnership must complete one application together.
  • Only two founders may apply per organization/project.


Submit during the open application period:  April 16 – August 31, 2024 (11:59 pm PDT)


  • Receive feedback as you advance. Our team provides initial personalized feedback, requires additional information if necessary and provides support meant for the semi-finalists to deliver comprehensive applications. Interviews are conducted.

  • Outside reviewers read and score the selected applications.

  • 2024/2025 SEED Lab Fellows announced. 
“SEED Lab provided us with the support and resources that we desperately needed as an early-stage project. Over eight months it kept us inspired through the valuable information shared through workshops, dynamic mentorship, and the encouraging community. When we could not find solutions or wanted to quit, SEED Lab was there to push us to keep going”

– Marylou Adriatico & Joseph Posadas | The Seed Program 2018-2019

Ready to apply?

Prepare Application offline

We recommend that you download the application to draft your answers before submitting them online. 

Submit Application Online

Once you have drafted your answers, please make sure you have 30 – 45 minutes to complete this application.

Need Guidance?

Tell us all about your bold vision. Schedule a call with our team to discuss your idea. We will guide you through the application process and provide feedback as you move forward.

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