An annual competition for nonprofit entrepreneurs is preparing to take the stage. Some of the Charlotte region’s most innovative thinkers will challenge themselves and the community and compete for $45,000.
Created by Social Venture Partners, the annual SEED20 program identifies, highlights and connects the community to the region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social challenges.
The innovations can be developed by an individual or startup with a well-formed idea, an emerging nonprofit or a well-established nonprofit with a new program.
“SVP is a venture membership organization, and collectively, we invest our money, skills and time to those who are attacking social and economic problems,” Susan Daniel, executive director of Social Venture Partners, said.
Each year, over the course of two months, a class of 20 nonprofit participants receives training, coaching, feedback and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story – who they are and why they matter.
From free after-school sports programs like QC Scores to Junior Achievement, which offers K-12 programs that inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy, there is a diverse cross section of inspiring nonprofit organizations that are part of the top 20.
Ten of the 20 have been chosen to give an on-stage presentation for a chance for community judges and the audience to select award winners from the finalists.
One of the presenters is José Hernández-Paris, the executive director of the Latin American Coalition, to pitch the Workers Collaborative Center.
“The center serves day laborers, often ignored members of our community, who wait for work on street corners through hot summer days and snow in the winter,” Hernández-Paris said.
“The center offers not just the dignity of a safe indoor space but also is a shelter where workers are trained, wages are recovered and the individual becomes family,” he said.
Before and after the pitches, the audience can interact and connect with all 20 nonprofits to learn more about their missions and opportunities for support and engagement.
“We believe in the power of social innovation to unleash breakthrough ideas that creatively attack tough social challenges,” Daniel said.
Another presenter will be Shaun “Lucky” Corbett.
After the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, Corbett, a barber, created Cops & Barbers Inc. to create and establish meaningful relationships to make it easier to have much-needed dialogue between police and the community.
“The more we are able to talk and have those tough conversations, the more able we are to learn about each other and be more understanding,” Corbett said.
Anyone interested in learning about and supporting innovation in the social sector in the Charlotte region can attend SEED20 OnStage.
The event will bring together people from the business, government, academic and nonprofit worlds who want to support the development of a social enterprise culture in the area.
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