Posts filed under ‘Opportunities for social innovators’
Each year at Impact Entrepreneurs’ Elevating Impact Summit, we celebrate social impact in many forms, from new social ventures to proven approaches to addressing social and environmental problems. In 2014, we’re pleased to bring back the Pitch Fest and the Impact Awards. Nominations for the Impact Awards and applications for the Pitch Fest are now open to the public. Read on to learn more, and please join us on June 20 at the Gerding Theater in Portland, Oregon for the Pitch Fest, Impact Award announcements, speakers, panels, and stories celebrating social innovators of all ages and fields.
Social Entrepreneurs: Apply to Pitch at Elevating Impact 2014
On the morning of June 20, the Elevating Impact Pitch Fest will showcase Portland’s latest and greatest. If you are a student, professional, or social entrepreneur from any background, and have an early-stage social venture that you’re passionate about, apply now to pitch your concept.
If selected to pitch, you will present your idea to a panel of experts and an audience of more than 400 enthusiastic peers. You will receive personalized feedback from impact investors, meet and mingle with other like-minded social entrepreneurs, and may link up with the partner, employee, resource, or organization you’ve been searching for to advance your work. Make the Elevating Impact Summit a stage for yourself and for your vision, and a take advantage of this chance to share your story with a strategic and supportive community.
Thanks to our sponsor Immix Law Group, the Pitch Fest participant with the most audience votes will receive $1,500 cash and $1,000 of in-kind legal support. The runner-up will also receive $1,000 of in-kind legal support.
Applicants must: be registered for the Elevating Impact Summit; be using an innovative and entrepreneurial approach to address a social or environmental problem; submit a two-minute, non-professional video pitching their idea; and apply by May 1.
2014 Impact Awards Call for Nominations
As part of the Elevating Impact Summit, the Impact Awards recognize the achievements of remarkable changemakers and teams who are using entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial approaches to generate positive social and environmental impact. Impact Award winners act boldly to implement programs or ventures that demonstrate innovation and lasting impact.
This year, awards will be given for outstanding impact in the following categories: Campus Innovation; Impact Intrapreneurship; and Impact Entrepreneurship. To submit a nomination for an individual, a team, or yourself, please follow the link below and carefully review the additional detail on selection criteria for each award category.
The core concept of social entrepreneurship — using business tools and approaches in nonprofit, for-profit, government and academic settings to address social and environmental problems — is rapidly gaining traction. But for everyone we meet with a great idea for a new business or program, there are many more who simply wish to lend their expertise, talent and insight to the movement. Again and again, we’re asked “How can I get involved?”
In response, we’ve put together this short guide to helping out. We left out the many crowdfunding, donation, and investment opportunities in the field to focus exclusively on platforms that enable you to offer high-level, pro bono support to social innovators around the world. After all, you don’t need a lot of time, money or ideas to change the world — just the desire to help out.
Ashoka Changemakers offers a set of social enterprise challenges and projects that link social entrepreneurs with supportive networks of partners and collaborators. The Ashoka network is one of the largest communities of social entrepreneurs in the world.
Catchafire matches skilled individuals to specific project needs posted by nonprofits and social enterprises. From finance to design to photography, the platform offers an array of pro bono consulting opportunities for professionals of every background.
Ecoapprentice, a platform based out of Portland, Oregon, enables students and professionals to work on real-world environmental challenges posted by local organizations. Individuals or teams with the best proposed solution for each challenge receive a cash prize.
OpenIDEO is a list of social challenges curated by IDEO, the design firm responsible for popularizing design thinking and developing the Human-Centered Design process. Each challenge is posted by a different organization seeking input and solutions from the general public to help guide the development of new programs and ventures.
We hope this short guide gives you a starting point to contribute your unique experience and knowledge to the field of social entrepreneurship. If you’re interested in working with us directly to mentor social entrepreneurs or help run educational events, please sign up for our quarterly email newsletter for news on openings and opportunities. Thank you, and happy helping!
We recently spoke with Jon-Paul Bowles about Hatch, a new community innovation lab and co-working space for Portland social entrepreneurs. Jon-Paul is working with Hatch and Springboard Innovation Founder Amy Pearl to bring the new space to life and create a system of supporting services for local social entrepreneurs.
Impact Entrepreneurs: How would you describe Hatch in a single Tweet?
Jon-Paul: Hatch: A Community Innovation Lab. An innovation generator, a place where social and local entrepreneurs create solutions. Where good works.
What role will Hatch play in the local community?
Hatch is both a place and a community. We’ve been surprised by the power of place because we’ve already seen people help each other out organically. So in one sense, it’s a place where a lot of incredibly bright, motivated social entrepreneurs work, have parties, host events, and take meetings. A beautiful co-work space. But in the deeper sense Hatch is simply a community of like-minded people who have a lot to learn from and offer each other and are passionate about using enterprise to solve big problems one small solution at a time. We have specific programs to draw community in. So a lot of different kinds of people find a home in this community. More and more every day.
What inspired founder Amy Pearl to create Hatch?
Amy has deep passion and expertise about helping create healthy local economies. Through Springboard Innovation, she’s been working on helping local economies access local capital for almost a decade. She was reluctant to look for a building to house the programs because changing how we invest in local economies really is about influencing existing institutions, habits and economies, and creating new ways to use legal and financial processes to free up capital for community investing. But it became clear that there’s a demand for people working in social enterprise to have spaces that hatch their ideas and build enterprises. Once she found the old Timberline Dodge building, the rest fell into place. The response has been really positive. And we’re not even open yet.
What type of organization is the best fit for Hatch?
Social enterprise. As your program is really good about explaining, social enterprise can take different forms, be for- or non-profit, etc. Anyone who wants to use enterprise as a means to accomplish a social or environmental end is a good fit. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already been wildly successful, or are just putting the pieces together and want some help.
What services does Hatch offer, and how much do they cost?
Hatch has a few different services. We have an incubator space that will provide access to top-notch experts brought in to help make them successful. Right now, desks in the startup space are $250.
We also have co-work space, which starts at $95 a month for 5-day access, and tops out at $295 for full-time, 24-hour access.
We also have Fireboxes (like cubes, but cooler) that cost $350 a month. It’s a dedicated desk with a locker, and lots of other amenities.
But most importantly, all our members have access to our programs, workshops and seminars — which revolve around getting them the expertise they need to be successful in whatever work they’re doing. So we’re trying to create an ecosystem that people can step into and thrive.
Do you have any interesting stories from the planning and buildout process?
The whole process has been a lot of fun. When you step into an old car dealership with a very 1990s feel and say, “Yeah, this would make a great co-work space for the community,” you have to be able to roll with the punches (just like any social enterprise startup). One minute you’re engaging leaders in the Portland community and the next you’re ripping off old awnings and wondering how to install more outlets. But mostly it’s been fun to see our team come together with our ideas and have the whole process evolve. Someone walked in the other day and said, “Wow. This is the new sexiest workspace in Portland.” That was fun.
When is the official launch party?
Glad you asked. We’d love to welcome the PSU community.
Where: 2420 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland
When: Thursday, January 30th | 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Who: Meet tenants including XRAY, Albina Opportunities Corporation, TEDx, Mojalink, and many others who are helping form the Hatch Community. Learn how you can grow your own project or get involved in moving another forward. Hear about our 2014 calendar of many new and favorite programs and events.
Cost: Free! Bring a friend and introduce us!
RSVP: to email@example.com
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Please check out the Hatch website to learn more. Or just come by and ask for a tour.
I also want to say that Portland is a great place for social enterprise. It’s nascent, but emerging. There are a lot of dedicated people already doing a lot in that space. Our goal is to grow the entire ecosystem of social enterprise, to collaborate with many partners like Impact Entrepreneurs and complement each other’s work.
Higher Education Reform in America: What are we trying to make more affordable? The road to strong US College Scorecards
This post was contributed by guest writer Marie Mainil, a political scientist and Business and Product Development Consultant with The Amani Institute.
Recent news have pointed out that institutions from Federal, State, Private, and philanthropic sectors are on a mission to make higher education more accessible to low-income students. But what exactly do we plan on making more affordable?
While reaching college is a challenge for low-income students in the US, there is also an achievement gap once they’ve arrived. The graduation rate for low-income students is around 25 %, less than half the national average. We also know that student loan debt has now surpassed the credit card debt that played a significant role in the great recession.
Both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have called education the civil rights issue of our generation. Post-secondary credentials, in fact, tend to be a prerequisite for 21st-century jobs. Yet, despite high unemployment rates among young people around the world, employers across sectors complain that they find it difficult to hire suitable talent. Employers face the prospect of hiring recent graduates whose education may not afford them the skills they need to meet the demands of the current global economy.
Recent higher education policies and programs have been successful in expanding opportunities for students (of all backgrounds) in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) field. This is great, given that American students fare relatively poorly in math and science. But why stop at STEM?
One current policy provides for grants to develop innovation within the private and philanthropic sectors in order to improve student achievement in general. Current policy also emphasizes a set of measures designed to strengthen community colleges, as well as to hold colleges and universities accountable for cost, value and quality. The launch of the College Scorecard is in fact meant to empower students and families with more transparent information about college costs and outcomes. Yet extra steps are needed to strengthen the university education we are trying to make more affordable.
There is a link between university curriculum and youth unemployment. Studies consistently show that the attributes employers most value in prospective employees are largely things not received from a typical university degree. This is especially true in the social change sector, a sector favored by the millennial generation. Employers in this sector rank leadership, problem-solving, initiative, project management skills, and communication skills as more important than academic and analytical/quantitative skills (which is not to say, of course, that those are unimportant). See here and here for more.
Since, according to employers, soft skills matter has much as hard skills, opportunities for leadership development, problem-solving skills, empathy, cross-cultural fluency, and self-mastery need to be systematically baked into higher education training programs—for the sake of both future employees and job creators. While still along the margins of the mainstream, an increasing number of outstanding organizations are working on providing such opportunities. See the Transformative Action Institute, Impact Entrepreneurs Leadership Programs, Global Citizen Year, Watson University, Mycelium, Uncollege, or Global Health Core, to name a few.
One additional organization institutionalizing the skills above with the goal of helping reform the higher education system is The Amani Institute (full disclaimer, I am a consultant there).
The Amani model focuses on developing 4 essential skills, which are also the core values by which the Amani team measures its impact:
- The vision to see what needs to change, to see what is not, and ask why not. This skill involves looking beyond one’s own position and identifying what one can do, such as setting a new direction for self, an organization, or communities.
- The courage to step into the unknown, and into the possible, without having all the answers, holding steady in the face of both the attractions and perks of the status quo.
- The empathy to work effectively with others, standing up when others can’t (or won’t).
- An ethos of change-making towards a more peaceful and just world, building, not just critiquing, deploying not just skills and knowledge, but one’s whole being.
Amani students, through semester trainings and apprenticeships, develop a professional toolkit and networks, and come to understand the personal journey impactful work requires in terms of effectiveness and personal sustainability. It is also worth noting that The Amani Institute does all this while reducing the traditionally high cost of top-class global education. The Amani model is certainly food for thought in the context of upcoming pushes for higher education reform.
America needs a workforce that is skilled, adaptable, creative, and equipped for success in the 21st century global marketplace. If we are going to create more pathways to higher education for all Americans, we should also ensure that higher education provides pathways to 21st-century jobs. This requires paying attention to the link between embedding problem-solving skills, empathy, cross-cultural fluency and self-mastery in higher education, and creating/filling 21st-century jobs that bring societal returns.
To learn more about The Amani Institute and apply to its programs, visit http://amaniinstitute.org
We recently interviewed Melissa Appleyard, the Ames Professor in Management of Innovation and Technology at Portland State, about PSU’s free venture capital workshop Lab2Market to be held August 13-14, 2013 (applications due by July 31). Read on to learn more about the workshop and how it can help your venture become investment ready.
Impact Entrepreneurs: How would you describe Lab2Market in a single tweet?
Melissa Appleyard: The Lab2Market is a hands-on, entrepreneurship workshop led by dynamic seed-stage investors for early-stage ventures.
What’s the purpose of Lab2Market?
Lab2Market is meant to jump start the venturing process, allowing early-stage entrepreneurs to understand the initial market readiness of their business plan and obtain feedback on their elevator pitch. At the end of the workshop, there will be a competition among participants for a cash prize for the strongest elevator pitch. The long-term goal of the workshop is to help regional entrepreneurs identify their next steps, assess their needs, and build out their network required for success.
How is the workshop structured?
The Lab2Market workshop combines 1) participant interaction with seed-stage investors when practicing their elevator pitches, considering their business models, and strategies for obtaining their first customers; with 2) an excellent overview of the entrepreneurial process from start to exit.
What’s the history of Lab2Market, and how did DFJ Frontier become involved?
A $600,000 Partnerships for Innovation grant from the National Science Foundation funded the program starting in 2004. The goal was to create a better future for the State of Oregon by bolstering the entrepreneurship ecosystem. All of the major research universities in the State—PSU, OHSU, OSU, and U of O—were involved to use the programs and workshops to help extend entrepreneurial culture across the state.
After a couple of years of running the Lab2Market summer program internally, we decided we would benefit from collaborating with an early-stage investor group to help our university-based entrepreneurs tap into a broader network. At the same time, DFJ Frontier, which is based in California, starting making investments in Oregon and agreed to teach the workshop drawing on an intensive entrepreneurship course they had taught at UC Davis. Their energy is infectious and their range of experience with all types of ventures makes them particularly well suited to work with the cross-section of entrepreneurs coming out of the research universities and in the Portland region.
How much does it cost?
We do not charge the participants to attend, but we do fundraise to cover all of the expenses for the workshop.
Is it open to the public?
Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, the ideal attendance level is around 25 participants. Therefore, we require interested entrepreneurs to fill out an application. About two-thirds of the attendees come from PSU, OHSU, OSU and UO, with one-third coming from the greater Portland community, for example from the Portland Seed Fund.
Who should attend?
Typically the attendees are early-stage entrepreneurs with only a basic understanding of the entrepreneurial process and who want to receive input on their elevator pitches and business plans from seasoned seed investors. The program is demanding on the participants, but it is a lot of fun too!
Learn more: http://www.pdx.edu/lab2market/
The Elevating Impact Summit is a celebration of impact in many forms, and a big part of that is the showcase of new social ventures, concepts, and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. The morning Pitch Fest is an exciting first look at the latest and greatest ideas in social innovation. If you have a social venture that you’re passionate about, don’t miss this opportunity to pitch your concept to a panel of leading impact investors looking for the next big thing!
So, why should you apply to participate in the Pitch Fest?
- Enjoy the full attention of a panel of impact investors who will evaluate your pitch and offer personalized feedback.
- Meet and mingle with other like-minded social entrepreneurs in a collaborative and inspiring environment.
- Link up with the partner, employee, resource, or organization you’ve been searching for to complete your vision.
- Make a name for yourself and your vision! This is your chance to tell your story to a room full of people who are ready to listen. You never know when you’re going to catch the interest of the right person who can help you get to the next level.
- Applicants must have a social enterprise concept or existing venture, either for-profit or nonprofit, that uses business tools to address a major social or environmental problem.
- You are required to submit a brief video that pitches your concept. Videos need not be “high-tech” or professionally produced. We know that it can be hard to convey an idea that you’re passionate about on a typed application, so this is your opportunity to insert your personality into the pitch. The video will be the most heavily weighted portion of the application, so make it count!
- Applicants must be registered for the event to be considered. Enter PITCHFEST at checkout to receive a special applicant discount when you purchase your ticket.
Want to work on your application offline? Download this Pitch Fest Application Cheat Sheet to help you prepare.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION: May 31st, 11:59PM
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland has embraced the Startup Weekend, a 54-hour sprint to design and prototype a new tech startup, with a series of local and regional events. Now Mercy Corps is hosting a first-of-its-kind Startup Weekend for social entrepreneurs at their Portland headquarters this June 7-9, building on their experience running similar events in Iraq, Palestine, and Haiti.
Participants can pitch an idea and form a team to prototype a technology-based social enterprise, or work on a team helping Mercy Corps address some of the world’s biggest challenges. Whether you’re a software developer, graphic designer, social entrepreneur, businessperson or aid practitioner, there’s a place for you at this event. Visit the website to learn more or register.
What: Tech4Change, a social entrepreneurship Startup Weekend hosted by Mercy Corps
When: Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9
Where: Mercy Corps global headquarters, 45 SW Ankeny St., Portland OR
How much? $75 (with early-bird discount)
About Mercy Corps:
Mercy Corps is a nonprofit disaster relief and development organization with operations in over 40 countries. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps strives to catalyze community-led and market-driven solutions to global poverty issues. Increasingly, Mercy Corps is employing technologies which have the potential to give millions of people new access to financial services and information, enabling them to grow businesses and improve their livelihoods, health and communities. Mercy Corps is also increasingly using startup technologies to streamline operations and meet compliance needs, freeing up human and financial resources to benefit those in need.
About Startup Weekend:
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011. The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
It’s that time of year again, when the leaves change, the air turns cold, and next year’s incubator and fellowship programs seem to all begin accepting applications at once. Not to worry: we’ve put together a short guide to a few of our favorites, complete with application links and deadlines. Just one more thing to be thankful for.
Through our two-year Echoing Green Fellowship program, we provide start-up capital and technical assistance to help new leaders launch their organizations and build capacity of their social enterprise. We offer:
• A stipend of $80,000 for individuals (or $90,000 for 2-person partnerships) paid in four equal installments over two years
• A health insurance stipend
• A yearly professional development stipend
• Conferences led by organizational development experts
• Access to technical support and pro bono partnerships to help grow your organization
• A community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders, including the Echoing Green network of nearly 500 alumni working all over the world
Deadline: application process opens in December.
Period: July 2013 through June 2015.
Fledge is a “conscious company” incubator, addressing the enormous opportunity provided by the large and growing number of consumers who are increasingly environmentally conscious, energy conscious, health conscious, conscious of sustainability, of community, and even conscious of consumption itself. We invite 7-10 teams to join us for 10 weeks of instruction, mentorship, and publicity. We pay teams for this privilege. In exchange for the cash and training, we receive an equity stake in each company.
Deadline: December 15.
Period: February through April, 2013.
GSBI Silicon Valley focuses on organizations which have demonstrated the ability to create significant social impact and to conduct financially sustainable operations. For those 10-15 applicants selected to receive scholarships valued at $25,000 for GSBI 2013, the program will last from May through December and will consist of online, mentored exercises, and a 9-day in-residence program (August 15-23, 2013) which are designed to create an investment-ready, fundable plan for scaling the organization.
Deadline: January 11.
Period: May through December, 2013.
The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) provides aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and $50,000 in prizes to transform their ideas into businesses that will have positive real world impact. Founded by MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, the GSVC culminates each year with the Global Finals and Conference at Berkeley in April, gathering teams from around the world and Silicon Valley professionals for a day of learning and networking. GSVC has evolved into a global network supported by an international community of volunteer judges, mentors and student organizers and a partnership of premier business schools in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Deadline: January 30.
Hub Ventures helps high caliber entrepreneurs build their world-changing startups better and faster. We operate 12-week cohort cycles at Hub Bay Area, during which participating companies receive up to $20,000 in seed funding and engage in best-in-class mentorship, purpose-drive community, and content tailored to impact startups. We also connect companies with our extensive network of investors during the program and at Investor Day, an opportunity to pitch to hundreds of investors. We generally work with “technology for good” companies including web-based, software, and mobile startups that are developing scalable solutions to domestic and global challenges ranging from poverty to climate change.
Deadline: December 10.
Location: San Francisco.
Period: March through June, 2013.
If you want to learn more about fellowships for individuals, or opportunities like Unreasonable Institute that are currently closed to applicants, check out these great lists provided by the William James Foundation and Innov8Social.
Get ready: Global Entrepreneurship Week is coming, and Portland is hosting a range of events. Whether you want to learn more about business for impact, start your own social enterprise, or launch any kind of new venture, we have the definitive list of upcoming events, workshops and conferences.
International Conference on Business and Sustainability
Talks from industry leaders and academic sessions on the latest research in sustainable business.
Wednesday through Friday, Nov. 7–9
Portland State University, all day
Social Innovation Re:Forum: Strengthening the Enterprise
Learn how to raise capital for your nonprofit or social enterprise.
Thursday, Nov. 8
Ecotrust building, 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
PSU Solutions Generator Team Builder Event
Students and community members work together on sustainability projects.
Friday, Nov. 9
PSU Smith Memorial Student Union, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
Supporting Social Enterprise Startups Locally and Globally
A panel of local social entrepreneurs discuss how to make an impact through business.
Friday, Nov. 9
PSU School of Business, Room 130, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
FREE – no registration required
All-Stars of the New Economy Party
Supportland celebrates local business with dancing and Oregon beer.
Friday, Nov. 9
ADX, 6–9 p.m.
Greg Dees on “The Open Solutions Society: Taking Social Entrepreneurship Seriously”
Don’t miss Greg Dees, the “father of social entrepreneurship,” at a free talk that previews his upcoming book.
Friday, Nov. 9
Pacific NW College of Art, Swigert Commons, 7–8 p.m.
Changemaker’s Night: Passion for Progress
Meet Kiva co-founder Matt Flannery and social entrepreneurs focused on children’s play and development.
Friday, Nov. 9
Hilton Portland, 7:30 p.m.
Startup Weekend Bootcamp
Learn how to get the most from the upcoming Portland Startup Weekend.
Saturday, Nov. 10
Oregon Technology Business Incubator, 12–6 p.m.
Thirty startups pitch for three minutes to an audience of investors and peers.
Saturday, Nov. 10
University of Portland, all day
$15 for entrepreneurs
Tiny Startup Camp
Expert speakers and work sessions get you started on your own tiny startup.
Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 10–11
Urban Airship, all day
Private Dinner with Greg Dees
Email email@example.com for information on sponsoring a seat.
Monday, Nov. 12
Hacking Social Impact Unconference
Participate in hands-on sessions exploring impact investing and social entrepreneurship.
Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 12–13
Ecotrust Building, starts 5:30 p.m. Monday
$50 for students/entrepreneurs
Co-Founders Wanted Portland
Looking for a co-founder to help get your new venture off the ground? Create a free profile on cofounderslab.com, then network with other local members.
Tuesday, Nov. 13
Urban Airship, 6:30 p.m.
SBIR/STTR National Conference
Learn how to write a winning proposal for government business grants.
Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 13–15
Doubletree Hotel, all day
SBO Innovation in Sustainability Awards
Recognizing Oregon businesses leading the way in sustainability.
Friday, Nov. 16
Governor Hotel, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Portland Startup Weekend
Over 54 hours, form a multi-talented group to design and build a web or mobile application with the potential to become a full business.
Friday through Sunday, Nov. 16–18
Portland State Business Accelerator, starts 6 p.m. Friday
Have one to suggest? Post in the comments.
Here’s a quick quiz. Are you:
- Obsessed with a business idea that will make the world a better place?
- Open to taking a hard look at your ideas and making them better?
- Addicted to improving lives?
- Bored when things are easy?
If you answered “yes” to all four questions, we want you! That is, we want to help you gain the skills you need to turn your concept into reality and make your startup a success, through membership in Portland State University’s Social Innovation Incubator Circuit Program.
The Circuit is a six-month incubation program that seeks to help you become a leader of social change. Small group meetings every other week alternate between workshops delivered by local experts and facilitated peer-mentoring sessions. The program uses the Lean Startup methodology, Business Model Canvas, and customer discovery process to guide development of successful social enterprises.
With a team of coaches, mentors and like-minded entrepreneurs at your side, you’ll learn about business law, planning and strategy, marketing and sales, financial estimates, impact measurement and other essential skills, all with an emphasis on the unique approach of social entrepreneurs. Program graduates walk away with new skills, experience delivering a pitch, a supportive network of peers and mentors, and visibility in our community.
Circuit Program graduate Amelia Pape, co-founder of My Street Grocery, spoke to an audience of 1200 last week at the Oregon Social Business Challenge after being introduced by Mayor Sam Adams. That same week, a partnership between My Street Grocery and fellow SII member Central City Concern was covered on the front page of The Oregonian’s Metro section.
The SII was selected by Fast Company as one of 51 bold ideas helping to build the cities of America’s future and has been written about in Sustainable Business Oregon, Neighborhood Notes, Oregon Business Magazine, the Portland Business Journal, Sustainable Industries.
Learn more about the program at our website, or watch the video below about the 2012 Pitch Fest for Circuit Program graduates.
How to Apply – Open to All
Both students and community members are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have a social enterprise concept or existing venture, either for-profit or nonprofit, that uses business tools to address a major social or environmental problem such as poverty or its contributing factors, such as access to healthcare and education, human climate change resilience, or social equity. Innovations and inventions are encouraged.
The application process consists of two steps:
1. Fill out this form before November 2, 2012 to attend the Business Model Workshop, held November 16 from 7:30-10:30 a.m. The workshop is your chance to get to know us, for us to meet you and for you to make real progress on your business model. You will be notified of your acceptance to the workshop by November 9.
Workshop cost: $25, payable at door.
2. Using a Business Model Canvas you develop in the workshop, apply for the 2013 Circuit Program. All regular workshops are scheduled for Fridays at 7:30–10:30 a.m. from January through May, 2013. Up to two company founders are permitted at meetings, but one must commit to attending at least six of nine sessions, as well as the demo day in June, for your venture to graduate.
Subsidized circuit cost: $600 (about $20 per meeting hour) payable on acceptance or in two installments. Unlike other incubators, we take no equity stake in your business—you retain full control. And if that weren’t enough, many meetings include food! Scholarships are available for students.
Calendar of Sessions:
Jan. 18, Feb. 15, Mar. 15, Apr. 12, May 10: expert-led workshop sessions
Feb. 1, Mar. 1, Apr. 26, May 24: Business Model Canvas and pitch practice sessions
June 21: Demo day