Friday, February 24th, 2012, 80 strangers stepped forward into a novel experiment, moving from raw ideas into operational social enterprises in just 50 hours. The results were not only astounding in terms of effort, but inspirational in terms of content. Thirteen companies were created, with a potential for over a trillion dollars in combined revenue and social impact!
Winner of “Best Startup of the Weekend” went to bwallet, a Mint-like tool for consumers which not only keeps tracks of finances, but integrates the CSRHub sustainability ratings to allow consumers to understand the impact of their purchase and make changes to improve everyone’s sustainability.
“Best Global Impact” was awarded to haitibaby, providing income to Haitian women by creating and selling baby knitwear via an eCommerce web site. @haitibaby
“Best Local Impact” was awarded to SeattleFarmBrokers, an idea pitched by none other than Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. This is a service to take the otherwise unused properties owned by the City of Seattle, and turn them into productive urban farmland and gardens.
The “Most Innovative Idea” of the weekend was Money Bags, a mobile application which turns the common $1 to $10 wagers with friends into charitable giving.
In keeping with the experimental nature of the event, the judges came back from deliberation with one extra award, “Best Social Entrepreneurship from an Established Enterprise”, awarded to Flipped Publishing, an idea pitched by Gifford Pinchot III, Founder of Bainbridge Graduate Institute, who had to recuse himself as judge for being an incessant entrepreneur. (http://www.bgi.edu/changing-business/the-incessant-entrepreneur/)
The judges deliberated for quite a long time to determine these five award winners, and that was not surprising given the breadth of great choices and amazingly high quality of the Sunday presentations.
The other companies created over the weekend included:
- Meaningful Trips, making travel more impactful for both travelers and those that they visit
- Casual Coffee, defrosting the “Seattle Freeze” by bringing like-minds together
- needscout, a marketplace to match non-profits with service providers
- Homes for First Peoples, building homes and teaching construction skills to Native Americans
- The Greenwood Microfactory, turning lifestyle jobs into lifeline jobs
- Choice Renewals, lowering the cost of solar panel
- The Canary, a flat packed, multi-use, compostable filter mask
- ShareBox, a tool lending library, packed in a recycled shipping container
In the quick poll conducted Sunday night, the vast majority of these companies planned on continuing toward reality after the weekend.
SeattleFarmBrokers returned to action March 25, 2012 at the “2012 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference“, hosted by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the FDIC.
Both bwallet and Money Bags will be participating at the next “Seattle Social Innovation Fast Pitch”, presented by Social Venture Partners.
Note: #SocEnt Weekend was organized in-part by Michael “Luni” Libes, founder of Fledge, not only for the good of the social enterprise community, but also to gain a better understanding of the needs of social entrepreneurs, in an effort to validate and fine tune the Fledge program of services.