Everyone hears about the start-ups who are receiving billion dollar valuations and are hailed as the next big “thing” in technology. These start-ups set trends and provide analysis, insight, connections that are assumed to push society towards becoming a more on-demand, flexible lifestyle. Are these new innovations really helping society in the long run? These start-ups are mainly focused on generating revenue which generally leaves out an important demographic that arguably needs the most innovation, those who rely on the unsustainable minimum-wage jobs. In theory, this should create the perfect intersection between entrepreneurs who are trying to challenge issues with their scalable solutions and Americans who are struggling between the poverty line.
Workers Lab is an Oakland, CA based start-up accelerator poised at this intersection. With a PhD running the show along with experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs practiced in combining innovation and social impact, it invests in organizing strategies, business models, and platforms that will lift wages and better the lives of U.S. workers. More specifically, according to triplepundit.com, they have three filtering criteria in which they want to support ventures. The first is ventures that work to generate the necessary economic power to raise wages and economic standards for low-wage workers. The second is ventures trying to achieve sufficient scale to impact workers across sectors, industries and geographies. The third is ventures that realize self-sufficient revenue models. This is because Carmen Rojas, the CEO of Workers Lab, has identified that “When these conditions are met, corporations and revenue-generating ventures experience less employee turnover and have increased customer loyalty.”
Workers Lab has already created a wealth of strategic partners and advisors including banks, foundations, unions, and even political parties. The most notable are the Ford Foundation, Amalgamated Bank, and Kapor Capital.
Applications for the lab’s Summer Institute program, held in Oakland, California from July 28 to July 30, are now being accepted until June 9. The three-day session offers an introduction to business planning and high-level coaching to help entrepreneurs sharpen their business plan.