For chef Ron Ahlert and fellow finalists from last year’s second annual SEED20 competition, the benefits of being in the contest are far-reaching.“All of the participating nonprofits were able to give an outstanding performance, allowing us all to grow and get better at fulfilling our missions,” said Ahlert, a chef at Community Culinary School of Charlotte and the grand prize winner of the second annual SEED20 competition.Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD is an annual competition sponsored by Social Venture Partners of Charlotte to discover and support 20 of the most innovative ideas in the community.SVP is a network of more than 80 individuals whose mission is to tackle social problems through venture philanthropy. By giving their time, expertise and support, they try to positively affect the community by helping entrepreneurs like Ahlert and the Community Culinary School of Charlotte.The culinary school helps unemployed adults through training: a combination of culinary skills, job-readiness and counseling. The prize money Ahlert won was used to buy a second BISTRO! Buggy food cart, which generates revenue and creates training and employment opportunities.Like Ahlert, Robin Emmons treasures the knowledge she gained from being a SEED20 finalist. Emmons competed in the 2012 SEED20 competition and also was recently selected a Top Ten CNN Hero by the cable news network.Emmons’ nonprofit organization, Sow Much Good, is helping under-served neighborhoods. The urban micro-farm grows affordable, chemical-free produce.“I am continually inspired by the important work SEED20 is doing to create a more vibrant Charlotte,” said Emmons. “The SEED20 experience is invaluable and the reward far greater than just the cash prizes.”SVP is seeking entrepreneurs using innovative ways to address social problems in the Charlotte region. Through Nov. 1, individuals and nonprofits in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties are encouraged to apply online at www.SEED20.org.In early December, 20 semifinalists will be announced, and beginning in January they will receive seven weeks of training, mentoring and coaching from business and civic leaders.These leaders serve as mentors to the semifinalists to help them present their idea, build valuable relationships, develop donor and funding opportunities and gain exposure to the general public.At the culmination of those weeks, 10 finalists will present their ideas as three-minute pitches to a panel of judges March 11, 2014, to compete for cash awards.
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013
Charlotte group seeks 20 innovative ideas to help the community
Jennifer Ford is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jennifer? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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