Impact Academy

SEIF Impact Academy Coaching Program

The Impact Academy has a new offer: two coaches paired with each startup! 

Over the five to six month program, each startup can accelerate their growth and goal achievement with the advice and knowledge of two expert coaches. As a result, this will also speed up the process of becoming impact investment ready.  At the end of the program startups have the chance to pitch to an audience of key stakeholders and impact investors.  

The Impact Academy offers impact driven businesses targeted support in crucial areas of the market entry and growth phase. The aim is to make each startup ready for impact investments through individual coaching, input sessions by experts and networking opportunities. After your application, we will assess the stage of your business and decide on your admission to the Academy. Please note that you need at least a proof-of-concept to be accepted to the Academy.

What is the Impact Academy?

  • Followed up goal oriented program for efficiency and maximum impact
  • A five to six-month one-on-one coaching-cycle for impact driven entrepreneurs
  • Individual matching of entrepreneurs’ needs and senior corporate managers’ skill sets
  • Input sessions led by experts with topics such as Impact Management,  Impact Finance, and Leadership and HR.
  • Access to supporting tools on impact investing and a network for impact driven entrepreneurs
  • Possible investment opportunities for suitable participants after the program

Please note that this is not a financing program and participants will not be allowed to ask for financial support from their coaches.

Who is it for?

This program is for impact driven businesses before/during market entry or growth phase – at least a proof-of-concept is required to be accepted to the Academy. Once you apply, SEIF will assess your potential, the stage of your startup and support areas.

We target Swiss-based startups and in certain cases we accept European based applications.

Please note that this program is flexible and offers online and offline options, however, it also requires a high level of commitment. Attendance is required on certain dates below.


February 1st – February 28th, 2021
Applications open for Spring Cycle 2021

March 11th, 2021
Announcement of who is accepted into the Impact Academy

March 16th, 2021
12-2PM: Coach the Startup Session (onboarding)

March 23rd 18:00-20:30 online
Kick-off event (mandatory) 

***We will have input sessions and open exchanges throughout the program. These dates will be announced soon.

August 26th 18:00-21:00 @ Zürich
Closing night pitch event (mandatory)


What former participants say

“Thanks to my coach, I was able to more than exceed our coaching goal – to have a solid business model and to be pitch-ready. Through the individual coaching, I have gained a lot of focus and trust. Right from the start, the coaching was very flexible, needs-oriented, very personal and simply highly professional. In the past five months I have been able to take a huge leap forward, both with our startup and as an individual.”

“On one hand, the materials and input sessions provide a great overview of key areas around impact entrepreneurship, ranging from theory of change to impact management and financing. On the other hand, the one-on-one goal-oriented coaching is extremely useful to define and start executing the next steps of the startup journey. […] We strongly recommend any impact-driven startup to go through the same experience.”

“Our coach challenged and pushed us to think further, especially regarding our business model which was much appreciated. Also, we got important new learnings about our Theory of Change, how to measure impact and financing models”

“In our case, we were extremely pleased with SEIF’s coach-startup matching work. Our coach’s inputs and insights were instrumental to help us prioritize tasks towards defining the suitable structure to achieve our goals, as well as to evaluate alternative go-to-market strategies and revise our financial projections.”


Who are the coaches?

Our coaches are employed by our corporate partners – UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Bär and PwC. They are all in upper level management positions and have a wide range of backgrounds. Previously we’ve had coaches with backgrounds in marketing, communications, business development, sales, legal, project management, IT, financing and investment and others. 

Can you explain what you mean by “proof of concept”?

We want to be able to see that there is a clear need in the market for your product or service. Although your startup might always be evolving and innovating, we expect you to be past the ideation phase. Providing information about your partnerships, current sales, or even testimonials from people who would be potential customers are some ways so show that your product/service is filling a need.

How many startups are accepted to the program?

The Spring 2021 Cycle is accepting 20 startups to the program.

Is the academy free? 

Yes, the academy is free for all impact startups.

Is the Impact Academy open to startups outside of Switzerland? 

We target Swiss-based startups and in certain cases we accept European based applications. 

Can I submit my application in German? 

Unfortunately no. The program language is English and some of our coaches have international backgrounds. Therefore we ask that your application and business description be in English.  

What should be included in my business description? 

Your business description can be a variety of structures, such as a pitch deck and/or a business plan. Please make sure it is in English. 

How is the matching between the coaches and startups conducted?  

Startups are required to list their coaching needs in their application. We do our best to pair each startup with coaches that have skill sets that best match those needs.

Are the events held online or offline? 

The 2021 Spring Cycle events will likely be held in a hybrid form. Those that can attend in person in Zurich are welcome to do so, otherwise you can attend online. More detailed information about each event will be communicated to participants closer to the time. 

Can I apply for the Impact Academy if I’ve already participated? 

Yes. We understand that not all coaching needs can be satisfied in one cycle. Therefore, startups are encouraged to apply for a second or third cycle if they want. 

When do I hear back from SEIF? 

SEIF will announce who has and has not been accepted into the 2021 Spring cycle by Friday, March 12, 2021.