Improving the World… One Weekend at a Time

on October 8, 2012 | in Impact Hub, Seattle, Startup Ecoystem

What can be done to improve the world in a single weekend?  A whole lot more than you probably think.

The world is full of big, important problems.  Issues of sustainability, pollution, community, unemployment, etc.  The 50 attendees of #SocEnt Weekend: Next 50 spent last weakened with the goal of solving some of these problems, while learning about social enterprise and having fun doing it.

Friday night, the event was once again kicked off my Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.  And once again, Mayor McGinn not only inspired the audience, but pitched out the first few ideas of the evening.  Afterwards, 35 other ideas were pitched to the crowd, resulting in 11 teams moving forward through Sunday to take those ideas and turn them into viable, validated business plans.

Sunday night, these 11 organizations presented live, on-stage at the Playhouse/Intiman Theater in the Seattle Center, in a public event as part of the Next 50 celebration of commerce and innovation.

While all participants at #SocEnt Weekend benefit from the experience, the event is run as a business plan contest, and the three winners were:

  • Most Innovative: Neighbors on Purpose, training and supporting 3×3 block micro-neighborhood “listeners” to help strengthen local communities
  • Most Impactful: Serve Smart, providing training to Americans before they embark on overseas missions
  • Best #SocEnt and People’s Prize: Brown Box, cleaning the Indian environment by turning human poo into renewable power

Other plans of the weekend include: Mission EDU 2015, Game It Forward, Tethered Towers, GhostTruck, Simply Good Shopping, Zakayo, Bjibe, and Made Right Here.

Video of the presentations are available here.

#SocEntWeekend –
A one-weekend, 50-hour, hands-on meetup, where you can meet like-minded social entrepreneurs, try building upon an idea that you’ve been thinking about, or simply have fun helping others build new companies that have a positive social impact.  #SocEntWeekend is brought to existence by three organizations:
HUB Seattle, the center for social enterprise.
Nsansa, providing coaching, consulting, and collaboration to mission-driven organizations.
Fledge, the “conscious company” incubator/accelerator.


  • When our project, Neighbors On Purpose, won “most innovative,” I was stunned, just because there were so many other innovative companies we had the honor of working alongside with this weekend. Co-opetition has awkward moments, but everyone made us so comfortable, saying things like: “you’re so passionate, and what you’re doing really IS very innovative!”

    I didn’t want to go because I don’t like competing when I feel I have no competitive advantage. Who does? So instead I went to challenge myself to speak briefly about something I’m too passionate about to ever only speak on for only 5 minutes.

    Wouldn’t you know: It’s easy to forget passion is a required ingredient in business, that even the strictest judges might value & trust to get Neighbors On Purpose off the ground!

    So happy to be part of the flock.

    I’m grateful to my husband, my parents, friends & family (especially Beth), to J. Mathias Bennett – my partner in this SocEnt endeavor, to responsive colleagues like Cheryl Honey (Community Weaving) & Sura Hart (No-Fault Zone) who we could consult on the weekend, to everyone in my communities of practice (SoZoo, S.C.A.L.L.O.P.S., Our Dancing Village, Transition movement, Compassionate Action Network, Cascadia Workshops, etc, etc, etc.)…

    and especially to the excellent mentors, coaches, supporters, and PARTICIPANTS at #SocEntWknd
    In a nutshell: MIND-BLOWING