Call for Entries: A Social Innovation Fast Pitch Event (SIFP), the first of its kind in Seattle to combine nonprofit and for-profit organizations in a single event competition, could net your social business idea up to $150K in grants and investments. But you’ll need to act fast! Applications are due between now and August 22nd.
Sponsored by Social Venture Partners and organized by Will Poole, SVP Lead Partner, in conjunction with the extensive SVP Network, qualifying applicants – ranging from high school students through established social impact organization innovators – can take advantage of a variety of training opportunities including “pitch clinics” and mentoring sessions with seasoned business and nonprofit leaders leading up to the event.
At the semi-finals in late September, a judging process will determine the final group of contestants who will then pitch in front of the finalist judges and an audience of 500+ at the Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center on October 3.
“We’ve been scouring the nonprofit and for-profit sectors for social innovation in all shapes and sizes, and encouraging the innovators to apply to our Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP) program,” said Poole. “And while competition for grant and investment money is important, we know that the lasting value that contestants will receive is the training, mentoring, and exposure to the local community delivered though this high-profile program.” he added.=
Poole has assembled a group of volunteer business and nonprofit executives and community partner organizations to drive the program and gain awareness for the competition. Individuals from University of Washington, ZINO Society, Microsoft, WinShuttle and IslandWood—among many others have spent the past months reaching out to their constituents to solicit innovative entries. A team of equally-dedicated volunteer mentors and coaches will help them all prepare for the competition and show their innovation in the best light possible.
Finalist judges for SIFP 2011 will include:
· Steve Arnold, Ph. D. — Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation
· Jon Fine — President and CEO, United Way of King County
· Michael Free, Ph. D. OBE – Vice President and Senior Advisor for Technologies, Global Program Leader, Technology Solutions, PATH
· Gifford Pinchot III, Ph. D. – Co-Founder and President, Bainbridge Graduate Institute
· Paul Shoemaker – Executive Director, Social Venture Partners Seattle
“Contests such as these help us social entrepreneurs get early traction for our ideas, said Jacob Colker, Co-founder of Sparked.com.” Colker won numerous contests for his social innovation back in 2008. “The $425K we won in prize money was akin to an early-stage investment round from a venture capital firm,” he added. “Although our social innovation business ideas are becoming more attractive to VCs, we still aren’t on their radar early enough to make a difference in our own business evolution, he added. “Competitions like this are essential.”