As you may have heard by now, Social Venture Partners is bringing an innovative program to Seattle, called Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP). SIFP is an innovative training and fast-pitch forum highlighting New Ideas for Social Impact. I am signed up to mentor one or more of the contestants, which I’m enthused to get going on later this week.
SIFP has been incredibly successful in other cities over the past three years, and they're on a fast path to make it equally if not more successful for the Puget Sound region, starting on Oct. 3. And for the first time in the northwest, the fast pitch program is available to both for-profit and non-profit organizations, highlighting the growing trend of social impact startup investing alongside with building sustainable and innovative non-profit organizations.
The benefits to the SIFP contestants goes far beyond simply winning one of the cash prizes and include such things as direct mentoring from successful entrepreneurs, networking with other civic minded leaders, and introduction to a peer group in Seattle that is working hard to make out region a leader in forward looking social alternatives. The format of our SIFP program is optimized around this concept, with a heavy emphasis on coaching and mentoring, and with the Oct 3 event time split equally between the fast pitch program and casual discussions in a tradeshow-like format.
SIFP just announced their exciting list of 54 quarterfinalist contestants, selected from the 120+ who applied. The fourteen who end up on stage will be exceptional; hopefully one of them will be an organization I mentor. Take a look at the list and you'll see a number of well-known organizations, plus many you've never heard of. All are innovating for the benefit of the Puget Sound region.
The SIFP program and the grant fund are paid for by a combination of ticket sale donations, corporate sponsorships, and donations from individuals and foundations. SIFP’s plan is to have the entire event self-sustaining within three years. To do so, they really need a great turnout this year so that news of this innovative model of social innovation and community engagement gets around. LA's fast pitch program is a success we'd love to have here in Seattle - they are expecting 1,000 attendees in their third year of operation!
Would you join me in supporting these social innovators by attending the event on Oct 3? You can make a $100 donation to get a ticket here. 100% is passed through to the people you’ll see presenting that evening, and you’ll even get to vote via text messaging to determine the “Best Pitch” and “Most Innovative” of the finalists. This promises to be an inspiring and fun evening. Hope to see you there.