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Charlotte’s version of Shark Tank coming Tuesday

You know about the banks and Duke Energy. You know about the United Way and the Arts & Science Council. What you might not know is that far beyond those big groups, Charlotte is teeming with energetic, innovative social entrepreneurs running nonprofits with small budgets and big potential for changing lives.

An outfit called Social Venture Partners seeks to nurture these entrepreneurs. Those efforts culminate next Tuesday, March 3, at the Knight Theater uptown. In an event called SEED20 OnStage, akin to the TV show Shark Tank, 10 finalists will make fast-paced pitches for their ideas, seeking to persuade a panel of judges to give them a piece of a $55,000 prize pool.

Among the budding projects: An effort to help widows in their 20s, 30s and 40s; teaching ballet to kids in poor neighborhoods; combating sex trafficking of Charlotte teens; and using a mobile app to have men compete with each other to be better dads.

Social Venture Partners has been coaching and mentoring 20 social entrepreneurs the past seven weeks. Ten have been selected to compete Tuesday.

If you want to reinvigorate how you feel about Charlotte’s future, go Tuesday night. The room is filled with energy and excitement, and the nonprofit leaders will impress you and help you realize all the good work being done to change lives in Charlotte. For tickets, go to www.seed20.org. Organizers are offering $10 off per ticket if you purchase on Friday. (Enter TEN in the promo code section at CarolinaTix, linked to from the SEED20 site.)

The 10 finalists are:

▪ A Widow’s Path

▪ Charlotte Ballet Reach

▪ Charlotte Bilingual Preschool

▪ Charlotte Food Innovation District

▪ EmpowHERment

▪ Girls Rock Charlotte

▪ Joedance Film Festival

▪ Present Age Ministries

▪ Uncommen

▪ Youth Meditation

To learn more about all 20 of this year’s SEED20 participants, go to www.seed20.org/ideas.

-- Taylor Batten

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