SII Circuit Program Pitch Extravaganza
It’s incredibly challenging to describe a business in only one minute, but that’s all the time six social entrepreneurs had to pitch their ideas to the gathered crowd and judges for the final session in the Social Innovation Incubator Circuit Program. This “Pitch Extravaganza” was not your typical elevator pitch competition, but a way for the entrepreneurs to engage the public and receive invaluable feedback. The panel of judges was there not to award a winner, but to help refine pitches, provide contacts, and advise on next steps as the Circuit member entrepreneurs graduated from the program.
For six months these entrepreneurs had attended workshops led by experts in business law, marketing, finance, social impact analysis, and other topics essential to success in their sectors. Now it was time to articulate newly-refined business models, showcase well-prepared pitches, and answer questions from expert judges and nearly 60 attendees. How did they do? Three words came to mind: succinct, compelling, inspiring.
Although the cohort’s graduation from the first Circuit Program is a bittersweet occasion, the event was a fitting conclusion. For some of the entrepreneurs, this was the first public announcement of their new organization. For others, it was confirmation of their models and progress. For all of them, it was an affirmation that their goals are well worth the challenges of entrepreneurship, as they use business tools to solve some of the most pressing issues of our time. A mastered pitch may only be one more tool, but it hopefully means they are one step closer to realizing their visions of positive change.
Special thanks to our incredible judges:
- Leslie Bevan, Manager, Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps NW
- Mark Grimes, Founder Ned, NedSpace, MakerFaire Africa
- Angela Jackson, Managing Director/Fund Manager, Bridge City Ventures-Portland Seed Fund; Manager, PSU Business Accelerator
- Abby Sarmac, Program Officer, The Lemelson Foundation
Congratulations, Circuit Program 2011 Graduates:
- Russ Finkelstein, All Your Possibilities
- Amelia Pape, Fork in the Road
- Clint Dethrow, Mama’s Fire Gourmet Sauces
- Sean Patrick, Million Monarchs (profile coming soon)
- Georgia Kirkpatrick, Silvania
- Sylvia Dickinson, Social Innovation Systems