Cohort 4 Applications are Available Now through 11/30/2023 11:59 pm (See button below)

We help social entrepreneurs
find financial freedom and create a positive legacy for future generations.

Welcome to the Polk Institute Foundation

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What is Social Entrepreneurship?

Social entrepreneurship is a recognized business model that combines the disciplines of market capitalism with innovative approaches to solving societal problems. Social entrepreneurs have both a passion for business and compassion to make a positive impact. They understand the Triple Bottom Line, or the new 3Ps : People, Planet, & Profit.

Polk Institute Foundation (Pi) Cohort Program

Pi Incubator - PHASE 1

40 Weeks / 10-12 Workshops

Pre-Seed + Early Stage – Existing

Practitioner Driven Workshops Designed to  increase your chances for success as a Fundable CEO

Training & Technical Assistance

Mental Fitness & Financial Literacy

Soft Skills Certification

Virtual Workshops

Tuition Free

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Pi Accelerator - PHASE 2

Practitioner Driven

26 weeks / Monthly 1-on-1 coaching

Mentor Driven Meetings Designed to 

Implement Go to Market Strategy

Focus on Business Modeling

Team Building

Financial Pitch to Angels 


Pi Access to Capital - PHASE 3

Ongoing Capital Raise

Target Angel + VC + CDFI + ECF or LCF

Government & Corporate Partnership

Pitch Competitions

Pi Alumni Program - PHASE 4

Monthly CEO Advisory Meeting

Ongoing Master Level Technical Assistance

Designed to Provide CEO Support for Sustainability

In Person Meetings

Pi Academy

Phase 1 Course Offering

The Fundable CEO & Ethical Leadership

Facilitator: Gary Polk

The Fundable CEO & Ethical Leadership begins the journey to becoming a fundable CEO. Starting with developing your “WHY! Simon Sinek says before one can discuss, “what we do”, or “how we do it” we must start with why we are in business. Your Mission, Vision, and Values will be developed. Then our teachings will shift to the importance of equity and that entrepreneurship is a team sport. Team building is vital to long-term success.

Social Entrepreneurship and the B-Corp

Facilitator: Andrea Chase

This course discusses the intricacies of being a true social entrepreneur and what it takes to become certified as a B-Corporation with the IRS and function under the rules and guidelines set forth by that government agency.

Financial Literacy for Entrepreneurs

Facilitator: Grecia Iniguez

Personal finance takes our candidates down the road of responsible financial practices. They learn about credit, interest rates associated with it, different types of financing available as well as other practices that are accessible to the candidate to manage their own personal financial management system. You can’t run a business if you can’t handle your own personal financial house.

Entrepreneur Finance

Facilitator: Michael Manahan

Personal finance takes our candidates down the road of responsible financial practices. They learn about credit, interest rates associated with it, different types of financing available as well as other practices that are accessible to the candidate to manage their own personal financial management system. You can’t run a business if you can’t handle your own personal financial house.

Operations essentials for Entrepreneurs

Facilitators: Murphy Witherspoon and Tim Dura

Murphy and Tim are both retired entrepreneurs who went to the educational side of entrepreneurship. Murphy did a lot of consulting and designing of lean operations in existing businesses to help increase their bottom line. Tim was on the small business side showing individuals common sense business practices to get the most out of each dollar going out as an expense to increase the amount of dollars coming in to elevate the bottom line.

HR for Entrepreneurs

Facilitator: Celeste Ramos-Young

Celeste comes to the Polk Institute as an active HR person consulting with businesses that are primarily related to the food service industry. She was an employee with the Denny[s organization and eventually ended up in a regional level position in charge of Human Resources. She ended up leaving the Denny’s organization and began her own restaurant and food service consulting business emphasizing HR issues for these businesses.

Market Research & Customer Discovery

Facilitator: Debbie Goldfarb

A comprehensive introduction to market research, marketing and branding are introduced in this 4-week workshop. Debbie takes the cohort through defining target market segments, demographics, psychographics, geographics and buying patterns in exploring viable target market segments. She then takes the cohort through how to market to these segments to increase exposure and sales. Branding is a large part of this so Debbie emphasizes your brand and how important it is that you pose a positive impression upon your target market.

Mental Fitness for The CEO

Facilitator: Tiberius Brown Aktisson

Mental Fitness for the CEO is paramount to the success of your business. It is lonely at the top, you have no one to talk to, confide in or just let-down your guard to. This course teaches you techniques to preserve your sanity which in turn shows a positive, can-do attitude with your employees and instills confidence in them that all is well.


Facilitator: Tim Dura

Pitch Coaches: Gary Polk, Mike Manahan, Erin Thompson, Alton Takabayashi and Alix Williams

The capstone workshop is designed to tie everything the cohort has learned and get them ready to present their business plans and pitch decks to potential investors at their founder meets funders event scheduled for January 15th, 2022. They will be taught ways to effectively present their pitch decks, put the final touches on their business plans and get ready for the roll out of their business through the Founders Meet Funders event in January of 2022.


CLASS 1 – Legal Workshop Series – Facilitators (Michael Chuah, Mark Kremer)
CLASS 2 – Biz Plans 101 – Facilitator (Tim )


CLASS 3 – Access to Capital, Get to know your banker (Al Paisley)
CLASS 4 – Getting in the Game (Matt Crowley) HR for Employers (Linda Artiano)

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Polk Institute Foundation (PI) Legacy Cohort Program

Monthly CEO Advisory Meetings

For Entrepreneurs that have been in business for at least 10 Years

Sales Growth Strategy

Management Succession Strategy

Certification Procurement Strategy

Financial Review

In-Person meetings

Membership Fee Driven

Marketing Pitch

Who is our ideal candidate?

1. Coachable = New Learning

2. Grit = No Quit

3. Vision = Grow a 1 million Business in 3-5 Years

4. Social Entrepreneur

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All of our facilitators are experts in their fields of expertise and great in transferring their knowledge – teaching skills are supported by our teach coach program.

We are open and accepting applications for new facilitators.

Our Cohort: Minority Small Business Owners with emphasis on those serving the Black and Brown communities

Our goal is to expose social entrepreneurship as a viable Business option and method to find true financial freedom to 70% of our targeted trainees – women and veteran-led entrepreneurs, and underrepresented Black & Brown minorities. Our students are serious about wanting to own a business.

Admission requirements include preparing and presenting a one-page business plan, along with a 5 minute pitch and interview. Graduation requirements include a capstone thesis and a 10-minute investor quality pitch presented at our Founders Meet Funders Demo Day showcase and gala event.

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For the last 31 years, Gary Polk & Mike Manahan have been Collegiate Educators and Business consultants. During this time the college student debt has escalated to $1.6 Trillion. This is why the Polk Institute Foundation (Pi) offers its workshops tuition-free.
Pi is a 501c3 nonprofit that is an Innovation-Driven Enterprise (IDE). Pi offers a robust four-phased program designed to develop fundable CEOs who will build sustainable businesses.

Our Mission

Serving Social Entrepreneurs to Help Make the World a Better Place.


Our Vision

Help Launch 1,000 Social Entrepreneur…SHIPS by 2032

Our Core Values

CHARACTER: Doing the right thing when no one is watching. COLLABORATION: Entrepreneurship is a team sport.
CULTIVATION: If coachable, we can teach entrepreneurship to anyone.
FAILURE:  Risking failure as a normal part of the journey to grow and find success. GRIT OVER QUIT

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Polk Institute Foundation

1552 E. Cyrene Drive, Carson, CA  90746

EIN – 85-3376905