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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

“Social innovators” make pitch, win grants at Seattle Center

More than 600 people are expected at the Social Innovation Fast Pitch event tonight at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, where 14 ventures are making pitches in the final round of the event.

The event’s theme is “New Ideas for Social Impact,” and presenting ventures include services for organic farmers, special-needs students, alternative energy and K-12 teachers.

Winning non-profits will share awards totaling $100,000. Awards of $75,000 are available for winning for-profit ventures. Judging is by a panel with members from 11 different business, education and philanthropic organizations.

Competitors include two team of high school students and two of college students.

They’re all pursuing funding from Social Venture Partners Seattle, a local chapter of SVP. Backers of the event include Ashoka Seattle, Bezos Family Foundation, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation, Social Venture Partners and Bill and Paula Clapp.

“We have had overwhelming participation in this inaugural Fast Pitch event, with 120 applicants and dozens of the area’s best civic affairs and business minds participating in the extensive mentoring and judging processes over many weeks,” Will Poole, SVP lead partner and fast pitch organizer, said in the release.

For some participants, the exposure was as valuable as the cash awards would be, Poole said at the event.

The top non-profit winner was Viva Farms, which received a $30,000 grant, plus the audience-selected “Most Innovative” and “Best Fast Pitch” awards each worth $5,000.

Here’s the full list of presenting companies and the prizes won, as described in SVP’s release:

Biodiesel Cooperative: A student led, student run biodiesel conversion lab at the University of Washington, procuring used cooking oil on campus, converting it to industry-grade biodiesel and selling it back to the UW to power part of their on-campus diesel fleet. A non-profit, college team; it won $2,000.

Dynamic Labs: Dynamic Labs develops breakthough solutions to problems faced by children with special needs. It operates a self-sustaining social enterprise incubator to generate ideas for products and services that will help children reach their full potential. A nonprofit, it won the $20,000 Zino Society Award.

FindProz: An “eBay for education,” FindProz is described as “the marketplace for private instruction.” A for-profit venture, it won a $25,000 investment.

Flash Volunteer: Flash Volunteer provides tools to create, discover and easily share local service events via social media, mobile and our unique Cause Crowd feature. Nonprofit, won $10,000.

Food N’ Me: Food N’ Me is a nutrition system that changes eating behaviors in children and families. It claims to be “Fighting childhood obesity with pounds of fun!” A for-profit venture, it won a $50,000 investment.

BOSS: BOSS empowers project owners/managers and minority small businesses with the tools and information to create sustainable social change. A for-profit venture.

Jolkona: Jolkona helps non-profits improve fundraising efforts by providing a simple online microgiving and reporting platform to crowdsource funds online. Nonprofit, won $15,000.

MoneySense: Building an interactive website and offering training clinics around educating middle school and high school students about financial literacy and the dangers of financial mismanagement. A non-profit, high school team, it won $1,000.

Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development: Solarize Seattle harnesses the collective impact of community to accelerate solar energy adoption via a group purchasing program. A nonprofit.

SIFF (Sharing Interests Forming Friendships): Breaks social barriers between special needs students and their peers at three public high schools in the Puget Sound and is expanding every year. A nonprofit, high school team, it won $2,000.

Reach Out: Brings an innovative approach to day camps, providing 1:1 counselor-to-camper, week-long camps designed to change the self-impression and life-trajectory of disabled, disadvantaged, and homeless youth. A nonprofit, college team, it won $5,000.

Village: A health and wellness model simultaneously stimulating healthy mothers, babies, families, providers, healthcare systems and the planet. A nonprofit, it won $5,000.

Viva Farms: Viva Farms is helping launch the next generation of organic farmers by providing land, capital, expertise and dedicated markets. A nonprofit, won $40,000 as mentioned above.

Youth Suicide Prevention Program: “K-12 Lessons for Life” is a new web tool that links educators to Best Practices curricula to support school-based suicide prevention and save lives. A nonprofit.

Comments | More in | Topics: Philanthropy, Public policy, Startups


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