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Powering advancements of AI in the open: Apply now to GitHub Accelerator

Funding AI advancements in the open, and opening applications for second Accelerator cohort.

GitHub Accelerator 2024 - Advancing AI

Applications for the next cohort of GitHub Accelerator are now open! Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until they close on March 5 at 12 pm PT.

We created GitHub Accelerator to help build more careers and companies in open source. The program is designed to provide financial support, mentorship, networking, training, and visibility to help participants take the next step in their open source journey—whether that’s securing funding, launching a product, or turning an idea into an invention.

While our first cohort celebrated the breadth and depth that open source offers the world, this year’s cohort will focus on new frontiers and technologies. You guessed it—we’re talking about AI. Let’s take a closer look.

2024 Theme: The complex task of making AI advancements in the open

AI is rapidly changing the way we work and live, and open source collaboration is at the core of AI innovation. We’re seeing developers across the globe use GitHub to innovate and share openly at every level of the AI stack, from training frameworks, to models, to responsible AI and evaluation tooling. And beyond a significant spike in the total number of generative AI projects, these projects are entering the top 10 most popular projects by contributor count.

But building a successful AI business in the open comes with its challenges. On top of the time and funding obstacles we’re already familiar with in open source, the heightened expenses and ethical, security, and legal considerations are daunting. We see these challenges as a risk to global innovation and are hoping to help.

This Accelerator cohort will focus on funding the people and projects that are building AI-based solutions under an open source license to improve the world around them. Program curriculum will include guidance on building a sustainable open source business, with a particular focus on navigating the complexity of making AI advancements.

Program details

The 10-week Accelerator program will kick off on April 22 and include a mix of 1-to-1, group sessions, project work, and mentorships. Participants will also receive:

  • $40,000 per project in non-dilutive funding.
  • 5-10 hours per week of live instruction, workshops, and homework.
  • Office Hours with the GitHub team for security reviews.
  • Q&As with enterprise GitHub Sponsors, community members, and GitHub leaders.
  • Introduction to, and at least one office hour with, M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund.
  • Free access to relevant GitHub products, including a full year of GitHub Copilot.
  • Eligible projects will receive free Azure AI infrastructure credits including preferred access to high-end GPU virtual machine clusters and white glove go-to-market support.
  • A shared slack channel with your cohort to collaborate and support each other.

The program will conclude with a virtual Demo Day where projects will get to share their progress with the community, cohort-mates, GitHub leaders, potential funding partners, and members of the community. Alumnus of the program are provided ongoing opportunities for networking and support from GitHub.

Project eligibility

GitHub Accelerator is designed for early-stage open source projects and products looking to take the next step in development, and open source-first companies up to seed stage.

While we welcome any stage of idea or project to apply, all projects must have the following prior to program kick off:

  • Clear open source license.
  • Clear governance strategy.
  • Deep focus in AI, Machine Learning, and AI infrastructure.
  • Commitment from core leaders to participate in and engage in the required programming.
  • A plan for utilizing the funds.

The application is free. You’ll need to supply a few details about your project, a link to your project’s repository and website, a list of all founders, and an email address.

Program FAQ

When is the application deadline?

We will evaluate applications on a rolling basis, with applications closing Tuesday, March 5 at 12 pm PT.

Who can apply?

We welcome individual maintainers, developers, and small teams from any of the 100+ regions supported by GitHub Sponsors.

Does my project need to be hosted on GitHub?

No. We welcome any open source project regardless of where it’s hosted.

How many projects will be selected?

We will select 10 projects.

How does the selection process work?

All of our applications will be evaluated by a selection committee. You’ll be much more likely to be selected if you:

  • Have an active and growing set of users.
  • Understand how you want to grow and maintain your project.
  • Wish to pursue open source work full-time.

What’s expected of participants?

Selected participants must be able to work on their projects full-time (40 hours/week) during the program. This time commitment is inclusive of the 5-10 hours of weekly instruction, workshops, and homework. All meetings will be hosted in Pacific Time (PT).

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