A fully funded 2-month fellowship program in Boston.
Upon joining our two-month fully funded Accelerator Program at Brandeis, you’ll embark on a journey to strengthen your startup, whether it’s Israeli, Palestinian, or mixed. This program is in partnership with the MIT designX and MIT Game Lab accelerators for startups in the areas of the future of cities, the human environment, and gamification (see eligibility below). You will attend a world-class seminar and benefit from our top-notch mentorship and coaching programs. Plus, there’s the potential to secure a $50,000 investment for your startup at the conclusion of the program.
We also care about YOUR personal and professional acceleration. That’s why we use entrepreneurship to teach leadership—and that’s what makes our fellowship one-of-a-kind. More than just developing startups, you’ll be developing connections with like-minded founders from the region, gaining new perspectives, and critical thinking skills to last a lifetime.
Our goal is to create an optimal place for your startup to thrive. That’s why we’ve partnered with MIT’s top accelerators. You’ll not only benefit from expert guidance but also receive assistance throughout the program from MIT student-interns led by MISTI, ensuring comprehensive support during your time here.
MITdesignX is an accelerator program in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P) and part of the MIT Morningside Academy for Design (MIT MAD). MITdesignX is dedicated to design innovation and entrepreneurship and empower founders to grow their startups and forward-thinking solutions designed to address critical challenges facing the future of cities and the human environment. Successful ventures exist at the intersection of design, business, science and technology. Interdisciplinary teams of creative thinkers and makers fast-track the development of their innovations.
This new track will accelerate a few teams focusing on gamification in high-impact areas, like education, health, conflict resolution, and personal growth. Other innovative, high-impact concepts are also welcome, including tabletop entertainment (board/card/party), roleplay, mobile, XR, and screen-based games.
Please note that this track won’t develop startups that support games containing violence, gambling, etc.
This year, we are admitting 6-8 teams (Israeli, Palestinian, or mixed) to join us in Boston for the launch of our Accelerator Program! You’ve taken the first step of forming a team and crafting the idea – we will help guide you on the next steps.
*We realize not all teams look alike. If you don’t meet all of the above criteria, but you still feel strongly that you’d fit and contribute to the program, just send an introductory email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning ahead? Here are the dates you need to know.
The Accelerator selection process happens in three stages. Here’s what to expect.
The Accelerator Program is held at Brandeis University and comprises four main pillars:
The Startup Development Process will be powered by MIT designX. All teams will go through the designX workshops, and the Game Lab teams will have additional industry-specific support.
Selected teams will build their ventures through a robust and proven curriculum delivered by MIT faculty and staff over four 2-day workshops. In addition, startups will be mentored by MIT alumni and local industry experts. The program will also provide teams the support of MIT student interns in the month of January 2025, and access to local industry partners.
FOUR PHASES TO BUILD A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR YOUR VENTURE AND A PATH TO SCALABILITY
MIT designX has developed a robust series of workshops that have been used by startups around the world. Whether you are just emerging from ideation, building your prototypes and MVP, or already at the revenue stage, this curriculum will take you methodically through every important question and decision you need to make as an early-stage venture.
The material is delivered in an interactive workshop setting, and challenges you to test assumptions, speak to customers, back-up decisions with facts and science, and also to use your imagination and experiment with new ideas and scenarios that might lead to better outcomes.
The MITdesignX curriculum will create a sound foundation for your business plan, product design, communication strategy, hiring strategies, marketing campaigns, and fundraising strategies.
Over the course of the program, with the help of your coaches and advisors, your team will work on pivoting and advancing your startup. Throughout this journey, your team will have multiple opportunities to pitch and receive critical feedback from the Growth Committee and the wider OGS network.
In the final week, you will submit your written application and pitch your startup to the OGS Investment Committee. OGS will allocate investments averaging $50K to promising startups to grow and advance.
Startups in the OGS Accelerator will have the incredible support of interns from MIT during the month of January 2025. These students from various disciplines at MIT will provide their computer science, engineering, design, and business knowledge to help advance startups as they emerge from the accelerator.
Our Academic Seminar and Keynote Speaker Series will provide the structure and support you need to get started. Hosted at the Heller School at Brandeis University, the tailor-made academic seminar covers key theoretical strategies that enable the development of sustainable startups. Our non-accredited courses cover:
Alongside the academic portion, our Keynote Speaker Series brings in preeminent leaders to speak on the topics of strategy, leadership, work culture, communication, high-performing teams, raising capital, and more.
Right away, you’ll be paired with your own mentor for personal and professional guidance during the fellowship. OGS mentors are a highly accomplished network of leaders who represent the public and private sectors, including serial entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 company executives.
As the program goes on, the fellowship is designed to help you develop long-term relationships and trust with the other members of your cohort. Sharing classes, building a startup, participating in facilitated conversations, and being in each other’s company 24/7 all contribute to the deep relationships you will forge. Right now, it may be hard to imagine, but many of our alumni leave Boston having made long-lasting connections with people they never would have expected to meet.
Your experience doesn’t end when the fellowship does. After the program is wrapped up and you’re on your return flight, OGS will continue to accelerate your personal growth. Some teams will be granted pre-seed funding to continue developing their startups back home, while others will use their new connections to launch the next phase of their careers.
Even months or years after the fellowship, if you want to start a new startup, OGS will consider supporting you. Why? Because we believe that entrepreneurs are the greatest agents of change. When you join this program, you aren’t just joining a fellowship—you’re building a community. In other words, your OGS journey isn’t ending. It’s just beginning.
Learn more about OGS NEXT.
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OGS is gearing up to host the 2023 Summer fellowship in Boston. We consider your health and safety paramount and will follow any necessary health protocols to run a safe and healthy fellowship. Between now and the fellowship’s start date, we will continue to monitor the pandemic both globally and locally. We will also consider contingency plans for the fellowship if our plans are limited by external circumstances, such as restrictions on flights and US visas.
OGS prioritizes the privacy and safety of its fellows and takes all necessary measures to prevent and mitigate any unwanted exposure. As a general policy, OGS does not seek publicity of individuals participating in the fellowship without their permission.
During recruitment, applications are submitted through Brandeis’ secure platform and will remain confidential throughout the process.
During and post fellowship, no images or quotes related to OGS fellows, alumni, or ventures will appear online without authorization. All fellows are briefed on OGS’s privacy requirements at the beginning of the fellowship. We encourage candidates to contact the OGS staff with any questions or concerns.
OGS is proud to support and represent a wide variety of cultures and religions in each cohort, and our staff will take all steps necessary to accommodate any religious, ethnic, cultural, or other personal observances. Holidays like Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, and Shavuot, which often fall during the fellowship period, are celebrated by the cohort and staff. OGS provides accommodations for eating preferences such as kosher, halal, and vegan/vegetarian, as well as regular religious observances such as Shabbat, Friday Prayer, etc. We encourage you to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Our accelerator program is open to Israeli and Palestinian teams in their 20s to early 30s with early-stage startup ideas.
Up to 18 participants will take part in the 2024 OGS accelerator fellowship. This will be our first startup Accelerator cohort yet!
YES, a venture idea is a requirement of the admissions process for the accelerator program. You and Your team should aim to benefit from this opportunity to level up your early stage startup to the next level.
That’s exactly what this program is about. All OGS Accelerator applicants must have a startup and a team. If you’ve already established a team and advanced a venture idea, the OGS Accelerator program may be the right program for you.
Generally, yes. However, we have admitted amazing fellows who have never gone to university! If you don’t have a degree but have meaningful work experience and entrepreneurial spirit, please send an introductory email to email@example.com.
Unfortunately, no. OGS is unable to accommodate long-term guests, including spouses, children, relatives, friends, etc. Please contact OGS staff with any questions or concerns about this policy.
OGS probably isn’t the program for you. Commitment to return to the region is a key factor in our selection process, as ventures that receive pre-seed investments are expected to initiate their activity in Israel/Palestine after the fellowship.
No — working in any capacity during the summer fellowship is not possible. The fellowship is extremely intensive and demanding.
Admitted OGS applicants who do not have a US B1/B2 visa (commonly called a ‘tourist visa’) will be contacted by OGS staff with instructions to apply in early March 2023.
An in-person interview is mandatory. Exceptions may occur, but these are infrequent. Applicants in or from Gaza are automatically offered an online interview.
Yes! We encourage you to re-apply, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria. You will need to you submit a new application and go through the full interview process. You can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for your previous application. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide feedback on previously submitted applications.
Every day is different. Generally, though, the fellowship is a mix of academic work, venture development, mentor and coach meetings, and social events. Fellows typically have two classes per day. Afterward, fellows work with their teams to develop their ventures. The evenings hold both planned and impromptu social events. It’s very busy — be prepared!
The Academic Seminar is not academically accredited. It is rigorous and tailor-made for the OGS Fellowship program, designed to give fellows the tools to start new ventures and refine their leadership skills. Faculty from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, a top ten US social policy school, lead the program at Brandeis University. Workshops and keynote lectures by successful entrepreneurs and leaders of Fortune 500 companies complement the academic curriculum.
OGS Fellows are each assigned a personal mentor, matched during the first week of the fellowship. After a few weeks, during the venture development stage, ventures are assigned venture team and business coaches. OGS mentors and coaches come from our network of highly-accomplished community leaders, business executives, and serial entrepreneurs from the US and the region.
The OGS Fellowship is fully-funded for all participants. This includes round-trip airfare, tuition, meals, accommodation, and more. OGS also provides local transportation passes and a modest stipend for living expenses. Fellows are welcome to supplement this with their personal funds, but all OGS Fellows will be provided the funding and resources necessary to complete the fellowship comfortably.
Throughout the program, fellows participate in social gatherings with the wider OGS Network, such as group dinners and ticketed events. We also allow time for OGS Fellows to enjoy the vibrant Boston summertime, which often includes sports events, concerts, outings, etc.
The program is premised on common interests in developing startups in the region and we will discuss barriers to working together for the good of the region. While fellows may have different notions of what brought us to the current unfortunate situation, we try to provide a safe environment in which to explore the narratives and concerns on both sides. OGS is dedicated to ensuring that these conversations are productive, meaningful, safe, and respectful for all fellows.
There are two venture tracks within the Accelerator Program: MIT designX Track, and MIT Game Lab Track. Your venture will be assigned to one of the tracks during the fellowship, depending on its nature and the field. Fellows will be hosted at Brandeis University for the majority of the fellowship, working with world-class faculty and learning from industry leaders. There will also be opportunities to work at the MIT campus throughout the fellowship and as needed.
OGS-MIT designX/Game Lab Tracks are partnered with MISTI. These programs work with OGS to offer resources for the development of OGS Ventures, including:
OGS invests in promising teams that create for-profit ventures that have significant potential to compete in international markets.
If the startup delivers a product or service that has a beneficial social or environmental impact, its a plus!.
OGS will provide pre-seed investments to for-profits through Convertible Note / SAFE agreements. The average investment/grant is $50,000.
SAFE and Convertible Loans are instruments used by OGS to invest funds in the for-profit ventures created during the summer program. It is also the way for the for-profit ventures* of giving back to OGS.
SAFE stands for a “simple agreement for future equity.” SAFE is an agreement that can be used between a venture (created by fellows) and OGS (the investor). The method: OGS infuses money in the venture, and in exchange, the investor will revive stock in a future equity round (when one occurs), subject to specific parameters set in advance in the agreement, such as a Valuation Cap and a Discount.
A Convertible Loan is short-term debt, loaned to the venture by OGS, which is convertible into equity. Unlike a SAFE, the loan needs to be paid back if it doesn’t convert into equity. Depending on the nature of a venture the loan may have either or both of mandatory and optional conversion features. If it has mandatory conversion, like a SAFE, such conversion may be subject to parameters such as a Valuation Cap and a Discount.
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It’s NOT mandatory for a team to be mixed. OGS invests in Palestinian, Israeli and mixed companies. OGS encourages joint Palestinian-Israeli ventures when it makes sense business-wise. This means that OGS will strongly support a mixed team where operating in Israel and Palestine is an advantageous business strategy. OGS usually encourages fellows to start mixed ventures in team sizes of four (two on each side). Mixed ventures can also be built as two separate companies/entities with exclusive partnerships agreements. Therefore, OGS might even provide extra funding to increase the venture’s opportunity for success.
OGS Affinity Groups are comprised of alumni who have common skill sets. For example, different groups focus on tech, marketing, design, legal, finance, etc. Each Affinity Group advises their fellow venture teams in their area of expertise during the fellowship and beyond, as alumni.
The Growth Committee is comprised of individuals with decades of combined experience in business development, finance, law, and management. During the fellowship, the Growth Committee guides and advises the venture teams regarding strategy, execution, and barriers to success. At the end of the fellowship, the Growth Committee takes part in the evaluation process and advises on the allocation of pre-seed funding. Post-fellowship, the Growth Committee meets with each OGS Venture on a quarterly basis to analyze its business plan and progress report.
To apply, you’ll need to submit an online application, including details about your team and startup idea. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interviews and further evaluation.
Our program provides mentorship, funding opportunities, access to resources, networking, and guidance to help you take your early-stage startup to the next level.
The duration of the program is 2-months (June 1st to August 2nd, 2024). Specific details will be provided upon acceptance.
Yes, we offer financial support and investment opportunities to selected teams.
Currently, our accelerator program is focused on Israeli and Palestinian teams. However, we may consider expanding in the future.
After completing the program, you’ll have the opportunity to continue growing your startup with the knowledge, skills, and network you’ve gained in the US and you will be part of the vibrant OGS Alumni Community. We also offer post-program support and connections to investors.
No, there are no fees for participating in our accelerator program. We are committed to supporting and nurturing entrepreneurial talent.
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OGS Next is our dynamic, cross-border alumni network. It integrates 100+ alumni together and helps them further develop their relationships back home. OGS Next provides peer support, leadership and professional training workshops, facilitated conversations, and social events. Our alumni, as agents of change, continue to build trust, create new opportunities, and support each others’ success.