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62 Political Leadership Entrepreneurship Organizations to Watch.

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Plus, new frameworks and language to help understand this dynamic field.



Since then, we’ve talked to hundreds of people in the field, come to know more organizations cultivating effective political leaders, and convened the global Political Leadership Incubator Network (PLIN). With that in mind, it’s time for an update.

First of all, we’ve updated our language. Last year’s Better Leaders, Better Democracies report – from which the list of 28 PLIs and the Political Leadership Incubator Network arose – named this dynamic field for the first time. It also included frameworks we hoped would help organizations understand themselves and their surrounding ecosystem. We were heartened to see that many of these concepts and framings were popular. However, our ideas have evolved as we’ve gotten to know more organziations. We humbly offer the definitions and graphics below for the field to use. As always, we’re open to honest and constructive feedback.


The Political Leadership Impact Path


The Better Leaders, Better Democracies report included our Five Waypoints to Political Leadership for the first time. We’ve now created a more nuanced Political Leadership Impact Path including extra steps; points of entry and exit; and touch points with citizens, democracy support and political parties. The Political Leadership Impact Path also shows the difference between PLIs and PLAs, and how they complement each other.




Defining a Field

The Better Leaders, Better Democracies report suggested Political Leadership Incubators (PLIs) as a name for the organizations working to cultivate effective politicians. We were pleased to see the term PLI adopted as a proud identity and definition. Over time, we uncovered more nuance in the ways organizations in the field work. We suggest the following as more precise definitions.

Political Leadership Entrepreneurship

This is the umbrella term for the field of people and organizations from civil society improving political leadership from outside the political system in cooperation with those working inside. PLIs, PLAs and Political Leadership Ecosystem Supporters (more below) are all considered Political Leadership Entrepreneurship Organizations. The people who start these organizations are called Political Leadership Entrepreneurs.

Political Leadership Incubators (PLIs)

This name was first popularized coming out of the Better Leaders, Better Democracies report. We suggest keeping it but with a more refined definition. After our discussions with the field, we see PLIs as working with future politicians from recruitment to when they join a party and/or assemble a team, i.e, points 1 to 4 of the Political Leadership Impact Path.


Types of PLIs

We’ve been thinking about the different PLI models and have created this graphic, which roughly plots where we think PLIs from the PLIN sit within the framework. We thought this could help PLIs explain what they do and identify where they sit in relation to the rest of the field.




Political Leadership Accelerators (PLAs)

We realized some organizations we’d been calling Political Leadership Incubators (PLIs) were working with leaders after they’d already decided to run for office. We suggest naming these organizations Political Leadership Accelerators (PLAs). They work with political leaders from when they run for office up until they leave office, i.e., points 5 to 9 of the Political Leadership Impact Path.


Political Leadership Ecosystem Supporters

Political Leadership Ecosystem Supporters help build better political leadership in other ways, including through strategic research, funding, covening etc. They support the ecosystem as a whole, while PLIs and PLAs work with leaders before and after they’ve run for office respectively. Ecosystem Supporters can also support the work of PLIs and PLAs.


How It All Comes Together: A Political Leadership Value Chain

This image is an example of a political leadership value chain in Germany. It shows where different Political Leadership Entrepreneurship Organizations interact with the Political Leadership Impact Path. It serves as another reminder that a single organization need not work across all points. Cultivating effective political leadership can be a collaborative process.


Now, the list. Most organizations below are part of the Political Leadership Incubator Network (PLIN) that we started convening last year. We are so grateful to be constantly learning from them.

 


Académie Des Futurs Leaders

PLI

France


Mission: “The Future Leaders Academy is an immersive training program for personalities committed to environmental and social justice causes, eager to embody a new political generation: inspiring, empathetic and guided by progressive values. We offer training that provides the tools necessary to become the political leaders of tomorrow and transform their social involvement into political influence.”


 


Advance Native Political Leadership

PLA / PLI / Ecosystem Supporter

United States


Mission: “Advance Native Political Leadership (Advance) is the first and only national Native-led organization working to build a complete ecosystem approach to political power building in Native communities – leadership recruitment and support, civic engagement, data and research, and national coordination.”


 


Akina Mama wa Afrika

PLI / Ecosystem Supporter

Pan-African


Mission: “A pan-African feminist leadership development organization founded in 1985 by a group of African women living in the diaspora, who remained keenly aware of their African roots and the need to organize autonomously.”


 


Alma Cívica

PLI

Paraguay


Mission: “Building the new generation of public leaders that Paraguay needs.”


 


Amujae Initiative - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development

Ecosystem Supporter / PLI

Liberia


Mission: “To inspire and prepare women to unapologetically take up roles and excel in the highest echelons of public leadership, and to bring other women along.”

 



Bayi, Inc

PLA / PLI

Philippines


Mission: “Building an ecosystem of transformative feminist leaders at the sub-national level. It envisions contributing to the full meaningful participation of women in decision-making at all levels and in all spaces.”

 


Apathy is Boring

PLI

Canada


Mission: “Apathy is Boring is a Canadian, non-partisan, youth-led charitable organization that supports and educates youth to be active and contributing citizens in Canada's democracy.”

 


Arena

PLA

United States


Mission: “We convene, train, and support the next generation of candidates and campaign staff.”

 


The Ascend Fund

Ecosystem Supporter

United Kingdom


Mission: “The Ascend Fund is a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics. We pool philanthropic capital and make mission-driven investments in nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations that break down barriers preventing women from running for office and winning.” 

 


Auna

PLI

Mexico


Mission: “We are a platform that promotes new political representations with women's leadership, to achieve greater results in well-being, justice and environmental protection.”

 



Avrupa Siyaset Okulu

PLI

Turkey


Mission: “Bring together young people from different parts of the political spectrum who will be the leaders of the future, and to establish a dialogue among them. We try to keep these issues up to date by putting issues such as democracy, human rights, rule of law, pluralism, European norms and institutions at the center of their education.”

 


Blue Leadership Collective

PLA / PLI

United States


Mission: “Founded in 2018, BLC retains and trains diverse leaders who are capable of running culturally competent, winning campaigns. Through our paid programs, we teach our participants the hard skills, soft skills, and leadership fundamentals necessary to lead and win.”

 


Brand New Bundestag

PLI / PLA

Germany


Mission: “We find the most capable, credible people in our country. We help them to be politically successful in our parliaments. Because only together, only if we stand together, can we overcome the immense challenges of our time. It's about more than political success - it's about our future.”

 

Bratislava Policy Institute

PLI / Ecosystem Supporter

Slovakia


Mission: “BPI´s mission is to create and improve public policies, open debates on actual narratives, and consult trends and scenarios through independent, objective, non-partisan research.”

 

Civic Future

PLI

United Kingdom


Mission: “Civic Future will open up public life by identifying and educating talented young people in early or mid-career, as well as established leaders in the public, private and social sectors. We will establish a new talent pipeline to attract brilliant and inspirational participants from different backgrounds, and support them to become the public leaders we deserve.”

 


Collège Citoyen de France

PLI

France


Mission: “The new school that prepares the public leaders of tomorrow. A course of excellence, with 200 hours to develop your project of civic engagement.”

 

Country First Academy

PLA / PLI

United States


Mission: “A movement for those who feel politically homeless in the failed politics of today and want to bring truth and accountability back to government.”

 

Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD)

Ecosystem Supporter / PLA / PLI (Democracy Schools)

Netherlands


Mission: “NIMD works to promote peaceful, just and inclusive politics worldwide. Our approach across all our programs is unique and characterized by dialogue. NIMD’s Democracy Schools bring established politicians and future leaders from across the political spectrum together and teach participants key democratic principles such as equality, ethics and inclusion.”

 

CEU Democracy Institute Leadership Academy

PLI

Hungary


Mission: “A unique, 12-week part-time English-language leadership training program offered by the CEU Democracy Institute for a new generation of public leaders in Central and Eastern Europe. The course addresses the needs of mid-career local, municipal and national leaders, political party representatives, policy experts working at parties, in civil service and think-tanks, and civil society activists who seek to promote democratic change. ”

 

ECHO Network Africa/Democracy Trust Fund Kenya

Ecosystem Supporter / PLA / PLI

Kenya


Mission: “To partner with women, (including young women, women with disabilities and women from marginalized communities) to create a better society.”

 

ElectHER Nigeria

PLA / PLI

Nigeria


Mission: “A non-partisan disruptive organization shaping the future of inclusive, active, and functional participation by advancing active citizen engagement and democratizing politics for women to decide to run and win elections across Africa.”

 

Elect Her UK

PLA / PLI

United Kingdom


Mission: “A non-partisan organization working to motivate, support and equip women in all their diversity to stand for political office in Britain. We support women throughout their political journey up until and including standing for election and also hold events focused on bringing specific communities of women into politics, such as Women of Colour, women with disabilities and women in rural locations.”

 

Emerging Leaders Foundation

PLI

Kenya


Mission: “The Emerging Leaders Foundation Africa (ELF-Africa) exists to empower, support and accompany young women and men to achieve meaningful, dignified and impactful participation in governance, economy and public affairs at all levels of society.”

 

Empowered To Run

PLA / PLI

United States


Mission: “Empowering thoughtful leaders everywhere to run for office successfully and govern effectively.”

 

FANTAPOLITICA!

PLA

Italy


Mission: “Political fiction! is a support platform for leftist candidates under the age of 30. It supports candidates who are eager to experiment with more participatory methods, facilitate community organizing, combine efforts for social and climate justice, and encourage youth political participation.”

 

Fiftys Project

PLA / PLI

Japan


Mission: “ Aiming to eliminate gender inequality in the political field, we will increase the number of women in their 20s and 30s (including trans women), non-binary, X-gender, etc., who are running for local assembly members with the aim of achieving gender equality. It is a movement that connects to and supports together. “

 

From Harvard Square to Oval Office (Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard University)

PLI

United States


Mission: “The Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard Kennedy School works to advance women and gender equity by creating knowledge, training leaders, and informing public policy and organizational practices.”

 

Civix

PLI

Colombia


Mission: “We work with teachers and students to train the new generations of active, participatory citizens, committed to democracy.”

 

Higher Heights Leadership Fund

PLA / PLI

United States


Mission: “Higher Heights Leadership Fund is building a national civic engagement infrastructure and network to strengthen Black women’s leadership capacity. Higher Heights Leadership Fund is investing in a long-term strategy to expand and support Black women’s leadership pipeline at all levels and strengthen their civic participation beyond just Election Day.”

 

Höj Rösten

PLI

Sweden


Mission: “The Höj Rösten Foundation revitalizes Swedish democracy by transforming the great community involvement that exists among young people today into political influence.”

 

IGNITE

PLI

United States


Mission: “IGNITE is a movement of young women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders. IGNITE’s model moves young women to run and win, and it also dramatically increases their political engagement on every level. ”

 

Indian School of Democracy

PLI

India


Mission: “Indian School of Democracy is a non-partisan organization that conducts programs for aspiring, grassroots political leaders. We want to nurture principled leaders, with moral courage and imagination, to achieve sarvodaya (the economic and social development of a community as a whole, especially as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi).”

 

Institute for a Democratic Future (IDF)

PLI

United States


Mission: “The Institute for a Democratic Future (IDF) is a fellowship that prepares aspiring progressive leaders with the knowledge and tools to make a change. Program graduates join a network of hundreds of alumni in elected, policy, staff, and advocacy roles that shape politics and policy in Washington state.”

 

JoinPolitics

PLA / PLI

Germany


Mission: “JoinPolitics empowers political talents who develop innovative solutions to the big challenges of our times and implement them politically. We support with seed capital, network and know-how.”

 

Kuviraa

PLI

India


Mission: “Building political engagement & leadership in young girls.”

 

Legisla

PLA

Brasil


Mission: “We are a non-profit and non-partisan society that works to make Brazilian politics work. We are committed to creating a virtuous circle: we bring good professionals to work in the legislative branch, making parliamentary teams more productive “

 

LGBTQI+ Victory Institute

PLI / PLA

United States


Mission: “Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training, and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity, and ensure the success of openly LGBTQI+ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.”

 


Love Politics

PLI

Austria, Germany, and Switzerland


Mission: “Love Politics is a non-partisan and non-profit NGO. It works to get passionate actors to stand up for sustainable goals in the political system. The leadership training provides the tools to act credibly and effectively as a politician under extremely challenging conditions. We pave the way for new talents into politics and in doing so, we rely on more diversity in federal, state and local parliaments.”

 

Moremi Initiative

PLI

Operate across Africa


Mission: “Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa strives to engage, inspire and equip young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs and change agents: Leaders who can transform and change institutions that legitimize and perpetuate discrimination against women.”

 

Netri

PLI

India


Mission: “NETRI is India’s first incubator and aggregator for women in the political ecosystem that equips women to run for elections, become political professionals or political entrepreneurs, thereby increasing women's participation in decision-making.”

 

NEW Leadership (at the Centre for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University)

PLI

United States


Mission: “A national nonpartisan college students' public leadership training program addressing women's underrepresentation in politics.”

 


Nominee

PLA / PLI

Canada & United States


Mission: “Nominee is a learning platform on a mission to empower more people, particularly from underrepresented and marginalized communities, to run for office and make a difference in our communities. We provide support through every stage of your political career—from deciding to run, to getting elected, to serving in office.”

 

Nosotrxs

PLA

Mexico


Mission: “We are a movement that seeks to rebuild democracy from the citizenry. Through training and collective organization, we defend and demand our rights throughout the country.”

 

Patchwork Foundation

PLI

United Kingdom


Mission: “We promote, encourage and support the active participation of young people from disadvantaged and minority communities in British democracy and civil society.”

 

Pathway to Politics Program for Women

PLI

Australia


Mission: “The Pathways to Politics Program for Women is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders. Pathway to Politics is a national network of partner programs across six Australian States and Territories.”

 

Pipeline Initiative

Ecosystem Supporter

United States

Mission: “The Pipeline Fund is working toward a reflective democracy where skilled, diverse, community leaders are fully supported to run for office, run campaigns, and pass progressive policies that address the urgent needs of all Americans.”

 

Politics in Colour

PLI

Australia


Mission: “Designed specifically to address the challenges and barriers facing people from under-served communities, our online workshops assist diverse Australians considering a career in politics.”

 

PoliticsNOW

PLA / PLI

Canada


Mission: “We are a political leadership collective that amplifies, engages and empowers women in politics all over Northern Ontario.”

 

VOTE: Women Programme by POLLICY

Ecosystem Supporter / PLI

Across Africa


Mission: “A group of technologists, data scientists, creatives and academics looking to innovate government service delivery across Africa. We work with governments, civil society, NGOs and the private sector re-design services around citizen needs and demands.”


 

Próxima Geração

PLI

Portugal


Mission: “Próxima Geração is the first academy with a global context, non-partisan and non-profit in Portugal with the aim of revitalizing Portuguese democracy. At the moment, our main focus is to reinforce the role of young people, between 16 and 30 years old, as actors of democracy, through training programs.”

 

Raise our Voice Australia

PLI

Australia


Mission: “Amplifying the voices of young women, trans and non-binary people to actively lead conversations in politics and domestic and foreign policy.”

 

Recambio

PLA / PLI

Peru


Mission: “Non-partisan and non-profit citizen initiative, which through training and debate spaces, seeks to contribute to renewing the way of doing politics in Peru.”

 

Rede a Ponte

PLA

Brazil


Mission: “A network of women with experience in academic research, public policy and management to support women in politics!”

 

RenovaBR

PLI

Brazil


Mission: “RenovaBR is a political training school maintained by ordinary citizens who believe in a healthier, more participatory and representative democracy.”

 

RepresentWomen

Ecosystem Supporter

United States


Mission: “Research and advocacy hub focused on advancing women’s representation so more women run, win, serve, and lead!”

 

Run for Something

PLA

United States


Mission: “We provide a safety net for new and exciting progressive leaders—at all stages of their journey—helping them run efficient, strategic, grassroots, driven campaigns while feeling supported throughout the process.”

 

SPPG

PLI

Nigeria


Mission: “The School of Politics, Policy, and Governance (SPPG) is an unconventional school designed to attract, develop and produce a new generation of political leaders who will listen and serve the new class of citizens who know their rights”

 

Ti Candido

PLI

Italy


Mission: “Ti Candido was born with a plan: to concretely support candidates with strong ties to the local area, stories of activism and concrete battles in the field, with social and environmental justice at heart.”

 

Tous Elus

PLA

France


Mission: “REINVENT DEMOCRACY WITH US! A non-partisan movement to raise awareness and train all those who are far from democracy!”

 

Trawalla Foundation

Ecosystem Supporter

Australia


Mission: “The Trawalla Foundation works with exceptional individuals and organizations that have a vision for the future of Australia, focused on strengthening gender equality, creativity, sustainability and social justice within our society. A belief in the value of more female leaders, especially in business, media and politics underpins our work.”

 


Unity

PLI

Caucasus Region


Mission: “We want to inspire, empower and connect young people across the Caucasus to go into the political career path by giving them practical tools through a global program that is built on 25+ years of experience and state-of-the-art pedagogy.”

 

Women for Election Australia

PLI

Australia


Mission: “To provide non-partisan training events, workshops and networking opportunities to inspire and equip more women to run for public office in Australia.”

 

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