Now in its third year in the U.S., BBVA Momentum last year expanded the accelerator program to include social entrepreneurs from across its seven-state Sunbelt footprint, with 16 applicants selected to participate. This year, the five-month training program will accept up to 35 participants whose businesses offer innovative and sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems, with an opportunity to obtain a total of $175,000 in funding for the top three final pitches.
Ocañas: The impact the program can have for this special segment of entrepreneurs, and subsequently the community at large, is massive.
“We’ve grown BBVA Momentum each of the preceding two years, both from a scope and scale perspective,” said BBVA Compass Director of Communications and Responsible Business Reymundo Ocañas. “The impact the program can have for this special segment of entrepreneurs, and subsequently the community at large, is massive. When we create this kind of learning opportunity for them, they in turn create it for their own community. It’s a win-win.”
BBVA Momentum first launched in 2011 in Spain. Since that time, there have been a total of 19 editions of the program and 515 companies participating across BBVA’s global footprint, including Spain, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Turkey and the U.S. There have been a total of 36 participants chosen to participate in the program in its first two years in the U.S., with a total of $205,000 in seed money awarded to 6 winners.
Interested social entrepreneurs can go to www.momentum.bbva.com/en to view rules and apply. The application period is open through April 22.
Companies selected to participate in the five-month program will have access to both online and in-person training, as well as strategic mentorship and support, networking opportunities and visibility over the course of the program.
The online training includes flexible hours and subject matter such as the Role of Technology and Innovation, Business Models for Social Enterprises, Scaling, Finance for social enterprises and Measuring the Integrated Impact on Management. It is provided by Corporate Learning Alliance, a partnership between IE Business School and the Financial Times.
The program’s live training includes at least three in-person, two-day sessions where participants will learn social leadership and team management, communication and shareholder management, technological tools, decision making and communication skills. The face-to-face training is conducted by the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.
In addition to the online and in-person training, each participant will also be given a BBVA Compass mentor that will provide one-on-one support for the entirety of the program.
At the end of the program, BBVA Compass will award a total of $175,000 divided between three participant enterprises considered most sustainable and with the highest social impact. In addition, participants may be eligible to receive further investment opportunities, including capital to implement the growth plans developed during the program.
Applications to participate in the 2019 edition of BBVA Momentum opened in late February and closes on April 22 with final selection announced in May. Social entrepreneurs based in BBVA Compass’ seven-state footprint - Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas - with an interest in participating should go to www.momentum.bbva.com/en to apply.
Previously Awarded Entrepreneurs
Chad Houser of Dallas-based Café Momentum, a restaurant training platform for juvenile offenders, won the top prize of $50,000 last week as the BBVA Momentum program for social entrepreneurs closed out its inaugural season in the U.S.
In 2018, On the Road Lending, also based in Dallas, took home the $75,000 grant. On the Road Lending finances fuel-efficient and reliable cars, under warranty, for lower-skilled workers with weak credit.
Other top 2018 performers included Dallas-based Skratch, a mobile platform that connects teens with individuals, organizations, and businesses in their neighborhood to accomplish task-based work and Orlando, Florida’s Pathlight HOME. Pathlight HOME uses a housing-first model by acquiring former hotel properties and structuring innovative financing models to create over 500 units for disabled individuals who are at-risk for chronic homelessness.
2018 winners of BBVA Momentum. (Front row, left to right): First place winner Michelle Corson of On the Road Lending, second place winner Scott Bennett of Skratch, and third place winner Helaine Blum of Pathlight HOME.
Bank for Entrepreneurs
BBVA Compass has recently announced a slate of programs intended to support entrepreneurs across the spectrum and demonstrate the bank’s ongoing support for the small businesses that are the lifeblood of the communities where it operates.
BBVA Compass Executive Director of the Business Banking Segment Elizabeth Dobers said the programs signal the bank’s intention to become the bank for entrepreneurs.
Dobers: With BBVA Momentum, we’ve seen firsthand the power that small businesses have in our local communities to create change...
“With BBVA Momentum, we’ve seen firsthand the power that small businesses have in our local communities to create change and we believe there is no better way to live our purpose of creating opportunities than to support them,” Dobers said. “When a small business wins, we all win, from the city where they are growing their business, to the people living in and around the community. It's why we launched BBVA Momentum in the U.S. two years ago and have expanded our efforts this year with the Entrepreneurial Opportunity of the Year contest.”
BBVA Compass is teaming up with The Business Journals to present the inaugural Entrepreneurial Opportunity of the Year contest, which provides businesses an opportunity to demonstrate how they are innovating to create opportunities for their clients and market for a chance to win up to $60,000. More information on the contest, including the markets where it’s being held, can be found here.
BBVA Compass has also teamed up with the Houston Rockets for the third year in a row to roll out a small business contest in the Houston market focused on area start-up businesses that need a financial boost to become digitally innovative.The top business wins a grand prize of $10,000 and consultations with Rockets and BBVA Compass executives. For more on Launchpad, click here.
For more information about BBVA Momentum, click here.