University City

November 5, 2012

Ideas needed to help the community

SEED20 competition provides support to turn ideas into reality

By Jennifer Ford


Do you have an idea to help our community? Then you may want to check out the SEED20 competition.

The second annual competition, SEED20, is a way to discover and support 20 of the most innovative ideas in the Charlotte community. SEED stands for Social Entrepreneurs Empowered.

SEED20 is an initiative of Social Venture Partners (SVP) of Charlotte, which is a diverse network of more than 80 individuals who want to help the community through a new model of giving, Venture Philanthropy.

“Social Venture Partners is a local affiliate of an international network of 27 affiliates dedicated to addressing the needs of our communities,” said Susan Daniel, executive director with SVP since 2008. “We tackle social problems through venture philanthropy, an engaged model of giving where the members not only write a check, but also give their collective expertise, time, and community connections to support the vital work of high impact nonprofits.”

SEED20 is a streamlined way of empowering entrepreneurs.

Individuals and non-profit organizations can submit their ideas online at before 5 p.m. on Nov. 14.

The idea or organization must have a significant impact on the Charlotte area including Mecklenburg County and bordering counties of Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster, Lincoln, Union and York.

Twenty of the ideas will be chosen and assigned community leaders as coaches.

“Over seven weeks, the 20 semi-finalists will receive training, mentoring and coaching from business and civic leaders who will help them strengthen their ideas and tell their story in a distinctive way,” said Daniel.

This process will culminate on March 7 with SEED20Unleashed! where 10 finalists will present three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a large group of attendees.

Last year’s event had a standing-only crowd. In addition, all 20 ideas will be spotlighted during the event where booths will be set up to publicize the ideas.

The winner of the inaugural SEED20 competition last year was Julie Jones, second grade teacher at Cotswold Elementary School.

In addition to earning $20,000 for the grand prize and the coaches prize last year, Julie also had the opportunity to form relationships with her coaches and gain the support she needed to make her idea a reality.

“SEED20 was a phenomenal experience,” said Jones. “I was joined with two coaches that helped to not only fine-tune a pitch but also to help re-shape the beginning of an organization. Grub to Grub is a unique grub composing organization that will take food waste, feed it to grubs, and supply our local farmers with protein-rich animal feed. Our goal is to revolutionize the way we handle food waste in Charlotte.”

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