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What business models do you support in Design Residency: Ventures?

The CityBridge Incubator prioritizes solutions that address an unmet need and could potentially have a positive impact on the DC education ecosystem. We will support the creation of ventures designed to rely on different types of revenue (e.g., fees, fundraising) and the business model that is most promising for an entrepreneur’s chosen goals.

What is the curriculum?

There are four core modules within each Design Residency program: how to incorporate equitable design methods, how to build a theory of change, how to pilot, and how to build a guiding coalition or network. Within the Ventures-specific workshops, we deepen the content knowledge and exposure to venture-specific material such as revenue models and instructional design. The Ventures curriculum offers an entrepreneur the opportunity to build skills around:

  • Business Model Development
  • Interacting with investors, incubators, and accelerators
  • Learning the entrepreneurial ecosystem of competitors, partners, and customers

What is the amount and duration of the grant?

The purpose of the grant is to offset start-up costs for the participant. The Design Residency: Ventures grant amount is $20,000 per team and intended for start-up expenses. The grant may be used to support the personal financial burden of being a “sidepreneur” (i.e., part-time entrepreneurs) as well as to cover miscellaneous expenses of the start-up venture. Participants in Design Residency: Ventures are not expected to work full-time on this project. The programming schedule is designed with full-time working individuals in mind.

What is the application and selection process?

The application for Design Residency: Ventures will open on January 28th, 2022 and it will close on February 25, 2022.

The application consists of a written submission that will include supporting documents and a virtual, one-way recorded interview that should take no more than one hour to prepare for and complete.

Once the application closes, our team completes early diligence and a thorough application review by examining your business model canvas and researching your market analysis. All applicants who have met the criteria of our early diligence process will be invited to participate in a final interview. In each of these interviews, we will assess the candidate’s leadership and the viability and demand for the solution. We expect to inform candidates of our decision by mid-April 2022.

How selective is Design Residency?

This stage of the CityBridge Incubator is highly selective. We use a comprehensive, externally-vetted set of criteria when choosing our participants.

Do I have to complete the other stages in the CityBridge Incubator or complete a pilot to apply for Design Residency?

We do not require that Design Residency applicants complete the two preceding stages of the CityBridge Incubator. However, the minimum expectation for entry into Design Residency requires teams to articulate the financial and social impact goals of their venture and engage in some level of piloting efforts to refine their solution. The earlier CityBridge Incubator stages teach these expectations and come with targeted support.

Can I participate in Design Residency if I am in another non-CityBridge program?

We encourage our participants to seek aligned opportunities to grow their skills, network, and financial resources. However, we are also acutely aware of the time commitment required for our programming. If you are wondering whether Design Residency could complement another program commitment, please reach out to for guidance.

Can individuals or teams outside of DC participate?

No. We expect that participants live in the DC area. Additionally, all proposed solutions must target students and families in the DC public education system.

Do I need a team to apply?

Having a team is not a requirement in any of our Design Residency pathways, but it is highly encouraged. Our experience has taught us the value of building a solution with at least one other committed adult. We do not help participants find team members, but participants are invited to attend our events and other incubation programs to meet other equity-minded innovators. 

What happens after one year in Design Residency?

Participants within Design Residency: Ventures will have the opportunity to apply for our Stage 4 programming with the potential to access greater support and grant funding over the next two years. 

When do we start?

Each program begins with asynchronous work and light coaching in the spring. The cohort experience for Design Residency: Ventures begins in August. Due to COVID-19, the 2021 program season was completely virtual. We anticipate that we will be able to move to a hybrid format in fall 2022. We will pay close attention to local health guidance as we approach the start date.

Do you have additional questions? Please contact us.