by Wilma Norton in Giving
ECHO of Brandon wins first Fast Pitch social enterprise competition
ECHO of Brandon, a charity whose mission is to end hunger in southeastern Hillsborough County, took the $25,000 grand prize in Social Venture Partners’ first Shark Tank-styled competition for social entrepreneurship in the Tampa Bay Area.
Wheels of Success earned the $15,000 second prize, with Girls Empowered Mentally for Success (GEMS) taking third. The Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative won the $5,000 Accelerator Participation prize, and Starting Right, Now won the $5,000 Audience Choice award.
As more nonprofit organizations explore ways to attain financial sustainability, the concept of “social enterprise” is gaining popularity. Social enterprise combines the social mission of a nonprofit with the market-driven approach of a business venture with the goal of building a sustainable revenue stream.
Social Venture Partners, with support from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and The University of Tampa, 13 local nonprofits the coaching they needed to develop their own viable social enterprise. And on Friday, Dec. 1, the nonprofits vied for $60,000 in grants and prizes during a shark tank-style pitch competition.
“Fast Pitch” is a high-energy, fast-moving, quick-fire presentation where social entrepreneurs share the mission, vision, promise, and model for their organization – all in under three minutes. While this is Tampa Bay’s first Fast Pitch event, Social Venture Partners has had success in other cities like Seattle, Calgary, Sacramento, and Boston. There is growing interest in social entrepreneurship from both emerging leaders of nonprofits and donors. Some examples of social enterprises gaining steam locally range from Metropolitan Ministries’ Dough Nation to Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition’s Second Chance Tiny House Manufacturing Company to MacDonald Training Center’s E-Quality Recycling Solutions.
Social Venture Partners prepared the nonprofits to succinctly deliver their message before the big pitch through a rigorous two-month accelerator program. The program includes an assigned mentor and workshops covering such topics as business planning, marketing, sales, finance, leadership and management.
The participating nonprofits:
Bright Community Trust
Directions for Living
Echo of Brandon
Enactus at University of South Florida
Girls Empowered Mentally for Success (GEMS)
Keep St. Pete Lit
Starting, Right Now
Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative
University Area Community Development Corporation
Wellbuilt Bikes, by The Well, Inc.
Wheels of Success
See 83 Degrees Media's story about the event.