Group of women in conversation.


The VELA Founder Network is the nation’s leading community of entrepreneurs providing alternatives to conventional schooling.

Network members have exclusive access to funding opportunities, resources, events, and the collective knowledge of thousands of entrepreneurs across the country.

Who are VELA Founders?

VELA is a community of visionary founders building sustainable businesses that revolutionize education. About half of the founders in the VELA Founder Network operate small learning environments and the other half are ecosystem builders offering direct services and support for the alternative education ecosystem.

What types of programs do VELA Founders operate?

Unconventional Learning Environments

VELA founders who lead learning environments creatively reimagine time, space, and labor to serve learners opting for an alternative to traditional schooling (e.g., learners who are not enrolled in public, charter, or traditional private schools). These resourceful entrepreneurs offer access to low-cost private solutions without dependence on public funding or outside interests. They are champions of autonomy, ensuring that the focus remains on delivering quality education tailored to the unique needs of each family.

Ecosystem Builders

VELA founders who serve as ecosystem builders operate programs and services that provide content, training, tools, and resources to support founders leading learning environments and the families who choose alternatives to conventional schooling. Their work strengthens the alternative education ecosystem and bolsters its sustainability, ultimately empowering families to take charge of their children’s educational journey.

How do I join the VELA Founder Network?

Currently, recipients of VELA’s Micro grant program are invited to join the VELA Founder Network. Micro grants are competitive grants of $2,500 or $10,000 awarded to entrepreneurs operating learning environments that serve as alternatives to conventional school, and to programs utilized by founders and families in the alternative schooling ecosystem. VELA funding is exclusively reserved for founders enabling families to pursue alternatives to conventional schooling as their primary learning experience.

Stay tuned for our next opportunity.

The Micro grant application will open in spring 2024. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when it’s live.