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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
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Social Entrepreneurship

This category includes articles about social entrepreneurs, typically about businesses with a for-profit model with a social mission embedded into the fabric of the business.

Chicago Area Mompreneur Creates Venomous New Fashion Accessory Designed To Stop Violent Offenders In Their Tracks

CHICAGOLAND (March 24, 2014) By the time you finish reading this press release, another American will have been sexually assaulted. In fact, every two minutes a sexual assault occurs totaling a staggering 237,868 victims each year. On average there is an aggravated assault every 37 seconds and a robbery occurs every 1.2 minutes. Alarming statistics like these are what inspired Indiana Entrepreneur, Caroline Olah to create the Little Viper, an unassuming fashion accessory that packs a crime stopping punch.

The Little Viper is the World’s first and only pepper spray self-defense bracelet. Weighing in at only one ounce, the Little Viper has an impressive three foot range and inhibits assailants with 3-6 bursts of 10% OC pepper spray. The adjustable silicone bracelet is 8.5” in length and is available in black or pink. “The Little Viper has a fashionable, low profile design and was created with discretion in mind. We incorporated the world’s smallest pepper spray canister so whether you’re wearing it while jogging in the park, or for a night out on the town it’s the perfect pint-sized defense system”, says Caroline.

Although the Little Viper presents a seemingly harmless first impression, the maximum strength formula will cause a pretty severe bout of coughing, choking, and an intense burning sensation while forcing the attacker’s eyes shut. With the immediate effects of pepper spray which last anywhere from 15 – 45 minutes, the Little Viper provides plenty of time to escape an attacker, render him/her helpless, and call the police.

With the installation of President Obama’s new Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, the White House just reported that 1 in 5 female college students will experience sexual assault on campus. Although the numbers are astounding, products like the Little Viper are helping to empower everyone from college students to elderly citizens and ensuring less Americans fall victim to criminal attacks.

To learn more about the Little Viper, please visit www.LittleViper.com

See the Little Viper in action:

Healthy Home Winners Announced In “People & Planet” Green Small Business Contest

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in California, Maryland and Ohio for Their Dedication to Building Healthy Homes

WASHINGTON, DC — March 24, 2014 — Three winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA; Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD; and Ecohouse, Galloway, OH. Winners were selected by the public during a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website.

This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have taken superior steps to improve sustainability and healthy living in the home.

Alisa Gravitz, president, Green America, said: “For most Americans, the home is their biggest investment. Therefore, it’s also their chance to make the greenest possible statement about who they are and the world in which they want to live. This quarter’s winners of the People & Planet Award demonstrate everyday how green home building and products can make a huge and positive difference in our world.”

The winning companies are:

  • Green Broom Brigade, Lompoc, CA, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Broom-Brigade-All-Natural-Cleaning-Cooperative/272172802918018. The Green Broom Brigade is a professional cleaning company and cooperative that sources exclusively environmentally friendly cleaning products and methods. The Brigade also employs an all-female workforce, composed of company co-owners. Green living and financial empowerment are thus joint tenets of the Green Broom Brigade.
  • Community Forklift, Edmonston, MD, http://www.communityforklift.com/. Community Forklift is a reuse center for home improvement supplies. The company collects unwanted and salvaged building materials during building demolition, then provides them to the public at very low prices, and donates them to individuals in need. Discarded building materials make up 40% of our nation’s solid waste. Community Forklift is on the frontlines of finding better ways to recycle and reuse these products – whether for the arts, for job training, or for strict recycling.
  • Ecohouse, Galloway, OH, http://www.ecohouseohio.com/. Ecohouse is a leading solar electric systems installer and comprehensive energy auditor in central Ohio, helping more than 3,000 home owners and small businesses reduce their energy use and environmental impact since 2008.

Nancy Vasquez Louth, manager of the Green Broom Brigade cooperative said: “Thank you to Green America and to all our supporters and voters in Southern California and the rest of the world for casting a winning vote for us. Now with this award we want to help continue the wave of growth and creating new green cleaning enterprises, especially cooperatives. Winning this prize money will definitely give us the opportunity to purchase needed equipment so that we could expand into commercial cleaning using our same green friendly products!”

Nancy J. Meyer, CEO of Community Forklift said: “At Community Forklift’s reuse center, we collect unwanted and salvaged building materials, then provide these supplies to the public at very low prices, and donate them to nonprofits and folks in need. By turning our region’s waste stream into a resource stream, we’re demonstrating that reuse can create green jobs and build local economies. We’re thrilled that Green America members support this work!”

Kevin Eigel, president of Ecohouse said: “Ecohouse would like to thank everyone who voted for us. We are happy to be recognized for our work of helping central Ohio homeowners and businesses to go solar and reduce the impact of climate change. We thank Green America for the gift of $5000. We will use this money to help put up a solar electric system for Third Hand Bike Co-op (a nonprofit that makes cycling accessible for everyone in central Ohio), and to expand solar in central Ohio.”

Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on community banking projects and companies that make “green” products for kids.

The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway and Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Jonathan Reinbold, Organic Valley; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea; Bena Burda, Maggie’s Organics; Lindsay Dahl, Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families; Alline Anderson, Milkweed Mercantile; Andrew Korfhage and Fran Teplitz, Green America.

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today’s social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Will Harwood, (703) 276-3255 or wharwood@hastingsgroup.com

Citrix Extends Free Tech Tools to Nonprofits

New Citrix Podio sponsorship program puts best-in-class tools in the hands of those who need them most

Monday, March 24, 2014 – Citrix today announced the availability of Podio for Nonprofits, a free program designed to help nonprofits organize the work they do everyday, improve work processes and ultimately be more effective. The global program includes free premium access to Citrix Podio and hundreds of Podio apps through the Podio App Market, along with onboarding support and resources. Podio sponsorship is open to all nonprofits with US 501(c)(3) or equivalent status. Citrix invites all registered nonprofits to sign up for Podio sponsorship.

“Research shows there is huge untapped potential for more social impact groups to utilize tech tools to reduce the time and cost it takes to deliver services, fundraise and engage stakeholders,” said Tommy Ahlers, vice president and entrepreneur in residence, Citrix SaaS Division. “We want to remove the technology adoption and implementation hurdles these organizations face so they can spend more time making life-changing contributions to their communities, and less time managing how they get their work done.”

According to Columbia Social Work Review’s 2013 report, the uptake of cloud, social and mobile technologies will allow the nonprofit sector to provide more effective services through improved productivity and efficiencies; yet the most common barriers to technology adoption remain lack of resources: funds, time and IT expertise. The report shows that while most NPOs use information technologies such as websites, email and databases to deliver services to clients, few of them employ software systems and mobile technologies that would enable their workers to improve client communications and access to information off-site. An estimated 35 percent of nonprofits use mobile devices and applications to manage work, while only 20 percent use software systems to record data for things like client and volunteer management. A recent McKinsey study found that companies see a 20-25 percent increase in productivity by using social technologies like Podio, because they simply get work done faster.

More than 2500 nonprofits have already applied and received sponsorship status through Podio, including The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), sustainable travel group Project Cordillera, pet-health services group PetChance and Music Nova Scotia.

Nonprofits streamline teamwork and boost productivity

GirlsOnTheRun.org is a physical-activity-based youth development program for girls in grades 3 to 8, teaching life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. In 2013 Girls on the Run served 150,000 girls across North America through 215 councils.

“Each council is as unique as the girls they serve, with its own strengths and its own challenges,” said Elizabeth Kunz, president of Girls on the Run. “Podio has been a way for our councils to collaborate, share, ideas, best practices and documents, and support one another with many miles in between them. With a way to network on a daily basis, our councils are able to more effectively serve their territories and continue to help girls grow in strength, courage and confidence.”

DANSIC, a Danish student-led organization whose mission is to inspire social innovation by supporting companies targeting both social impact and economic sustainability, has been using Podio for more than two years to help coordinate its flagship annual event, the Social Innovation Conference in Copenhagen. DANSIC relies on Podio for project management, communication and coordination of all aspects of the conference, as well as keeping all 60 student-members of the organization connected and in sync. Watch DANSIC’s Podio story.

Nonprofits that sign up for Podio sponsorship have access to world-class support services and onboarding assistance through the Podio Help Center, in addition to access to a community of Podio users who share best practices and learnings with each other every day through the Podio Help forum. The Podio Help Forum provides a knowledge base of expert advice, instruction on the use of Podio and other tools, as well as tips intended to help nonprofits take full advantage of Podio.

Until now, Podio sponsorship status was granted on a case-by-case basis, but in response to the growing need for cloud-based tools that make nonprofit teams more efficient and productive, the program will today be rolled out as a formal Citrix Podio offering.

About Citrix

Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is a leader in virtualization, networking and cloud infrastructure to enable new ways for people to work better. Citrix solutions help IT and service providers to build, manage and secure virtual and mobile workspaces that seamlessly deliver apps, desktops, data and services to anyone, on any device, over any network or cloud. This year Citrix is celebrating 25 years of innovation, making IT simpler and people more productive with mobile workstyles. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million people globally. Learn more at www.citrix.com.

For Citrix Investors

This release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Those statements involve a number of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, including risks associated with the impact of the global economy and uncertainty in the IT spending environment, including in revenue growth and recognition of revenue, products and services, their development and distribution, product demand and pipeline, economic and competitive factors, including risks associated with international growth and IT consolidation, as well as other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Citrix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.

The development, release and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion and is subject to change without notice or consultation. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not a commitment, promise or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions or incorporated into any contract.

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New GPS Band Helps Parents Locate Kids and Create Peace of Mind

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Parents love the safety and kids love style of kidsport GPS

LEAWOOD, KANS.— A parents’ greatest fear is losing their children. Over 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s over 2,000 a day.Countless more incidents are never reported. Losing track of your kid even for a millisecond can prompt instant fear and anxiety.

kidsport GPS is a cool, stylish sports band that allows parents to locate their kids on their cell phone, iPad or computer. It is the brainchild of three dads from the Midwest – Brian Sullivan, Eric Long and Jason Hicks.

“It always seemed that when we were on vacation, whether it was a theme park or a ski slope, one of our kids wandered off and sent us into a panic,” Sullivan, said. “During a group family vacation, one of our daughters wandered off on the beach and was ‘missing’ for an excruciating two and a half hours. We all looked at our phones and thought if only we could track our child like you can track a missing phone. And the idea for kidsport GPS took root.”

Safety features of kidsport GPS:

  • Alert Button: If your kid needs you, they simply press an Alert Button on the band to send you an immediate text.
  • Secure Latch: Taking the band off is easy for parents; it’s NOT easy for somebody who shouldn’t be removing the band. 
  • Removal Alert: When the band is taken off, or even cut in two, you’ll receive an alert letting you know. 
  • Geo-Fence Boundary Alert: You set the boundary, and the band sends you an alert if the boundary is crossed.

Parents love the safety; kids love the style. The bandnot only looks cool—it comes in a variety of bright, fun colors and comes in three sizes—but there’s a ton of technology wrapped up inside. It is made of soft and comfortable silicone (latex-free). And best of all, it’s durable and waterproof.

“We spent the last two years developing the technology and design of kidsport GPS, and now we are ready for production,” Long said. “Now we need families to pre-order theirs today so that we can begin production at a price that families can afford.”

Pre-orders are currently being accepted via a funding campaign at Indiegogo.com with discounted pricing starting at $129 until March 31. To learn more and pre-order your kidsport GPS, visit www.kidsportgps.com.

About Precise Innovation – Precise Innovation is a creative “idea” company founded by three entrepreneurial dads from Kansas City. Our company is based on one word…FUN. We believe the best ideas come from simple, everyday need and that we are most creative and innovative when we are having fun. Our goal is to create products that make sense; make consumers’ lives better; and make a positive impact.

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Phoenix Impact Exchange Prototype Unveiled

PCG launches game – changing data platform to lead new solution economy.

ERIE, Pa. (@ SXSW 2014) – Promising a solution to the Achilles heel of nonprofits and the age-old conundrum for philanthropists and funders, Phoenix Impact Exchange, a division of Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group (PCG), unveiled a prototype of its proprietary data platformat SXSW 2014.Designed to provide access, transparency and aggregated intelligence for the players who are trying to solve some of society’s biggest problems, the platform is scheduled to go into beta by Spring 2014 and fully functional by end of year.

“Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group is a leader in the growing new solution economy,” said CEO Tamarah Black. “Impact Exchange is a game-changer for every stakeholder in the philanthropic industry – giving nonprofits the ability to satisfy the ever-increasing data demands of funders and providing the performance reports funders are looking for but rarely get.”

When Impact Exchange goes fully live later this year, it will serve as an online community that reimagines the logistics of philanthropy by uniting data, analytics, performance measurement, grant management and storytelling on a cloud-based social network platform to connect every stakeholder in the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits will provide Impact Exchange with data about their organization, using gamified technology, so they can finally reap rewards parallel to the data and effort they provide. Funders – foundations, philanthropists, institutions – receive access to the cloud data platform and nonprofit intelligence dashboard to access the information, create reports, get matched up with nonprofits that align with their funding initiatives, and make grants to the organizations in a few quick clicks.

As a result, nonprofits get to tell their story to an interested audience, build new relation-ships with funders, raise more money, confirm their impact, cultivate volunteers, reduce administration fatigue and become “investment ready.”Funders are able to receive secure direct, immediate exposure to the results of grants and investments, monitor and evaluate grants, manage a strategic portfolio, measure portfolio performance against third-party sector benchmarks, obtain sector insights, trends and reports and obtain criteria based “opportunity “alerts for joint ventures and projects.In addition, constituents and volunteers get to provide feedback, suggest ideas, share their experiences, connect with others, see what’s needed and get matched with nonprofits based on their interests and skills.

“Impact Exchange uses existing technology and reimagines it’s application to address the barriers to accelerating progress particular to the philanthropic sector,” said Black. “We aren’t re-creating the wheel, it’s more like swapping a horse and buggy for a Porsche.They’ll both get you there but why wouldn’t you want to go faster?”

ABOUT PHOENIX COSMOPOLITAN GROUP:

Founded in 2011, Phoenix Cosmopolitan Group (PCG) is a triple bottom line shared value social enterprise with the mission of increasing and accelerating impact of every stakeholder in the philanthropic sector. PCG is comprised of four divisions: Phoenix Impact Exchange reimagines the logistics of philanthropy by uniting data, analytics, performance measurement, grant management and storytelling on a social network cloud based platform to connect every stakeholder in the nonprofit sector; Phoenix Impact Advisors provides a spectrum of services that capture, manage, and transform big data into actionable insights for decision-makers; Phoenix Impact Media, which provides video capture, distribution and engagement services that help organizations communicate and educate more effectively; and Phoenix Impact Analytics (2015) will monitor progress and identify opportunities for policymakers, funders, nonprofits and social entrepreneurs to create more effective solutions. PCG is located at 1001 State Street, Suite 907, Erie, PA 16501. Further information may be gleaned from the company website: www.PCGImpact.com.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Marjory Hawkins | 512.219.1972
HAWKINS PUBLIC RELATIONS mhawkins@hawkinspr.com

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Projects Abroad Introduces New Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers Can Choose From New Human Rights, Medicine & Healthcare, Microfinance, and Building Projects and Internships Around the World

NEW YORK – March 20, 2014 – International volunteer organization Projects Abroad is once again expanding in a number of countries across the globe to give volunteers the opportunity to make a difference. With an already vast collection of projects and internships available throughout the world, Projects Abroad is offering new programs in Jamaica, Tanzania, Fiji, India, and the Philippines.

Whether they are tackling the issue of human rights abuse in Jamaica, building a new school for Maasai children in Tanzania, or helping disadvantaged communities overcome poverty and start businesses in India, volunteers of all ages can get involved in these impactful opportunities.

“Projects Abroad’s close ties with the communities we work in allow us to regularly expand the ways our volunteers can make a positive contribution in those communities,” said Thomas Pastorius, Jr., Vice President of Projects Abroad. “Our new projects around the globe will allow more volunteers to make a lasting impact on communities in need, travel the globe, and gain significant life experience.”

New projects and internships include:

Human Rights in Jamaica

Projects Abroad volunteers on the Human Rights internship in Jamaica work with an organization called Women Incorporated. Women Incorporated, based in Montego Bay, is one of the few organizations in Jamaica that actively supports women’s rights. Volunteers focus on work that supports abuse victims and empowers women through workshops that focus on civil, cultural, economic, and sexual rights.

New School in Tanzania – Building and Teaching

Projects Abroad is pleased to announce that they recently purchased land which will become a new school for children from Meserani, a Maasai community. Classrooms, toilets, offices, a kitchen, and a playground will be built by volunteers to support over 60 young children. “It is an incredible opportunity to make a substantial and long-term contribution to the Maasai community,” explains Glory Matoi, Country Director for Projects Abroad Tanzania. “Children here have to travel vast distances to go to school, so our main objective is to give them a quality education closer to home.”

Microfinance in India

In India, Projects Abroad works in partnership with a local NGO to give people the opportunity to build a sustainable future through entrepreneurship and small businesses, with our guidance and financial support. Our interns gain a great deal of practical experience designing and conducting training programs, deciding how disbursing loans will be made, and compiling data for the financial year.

Nutrition in Fiji

Poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles in Fiji have led to a prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in many adults. Projects Abroad has introduced a health and wellness program based on a 21-day challenge, which promotes healthy living, exercise, diet, and nutrition. Volunteers can get involved in general health assessments, workshops and presentations, and cooking healthy meals together with the participants. It is a fantastic opportunity to gain some practical experience abroad as well as work alongside qualified professionals.

Public Health in the Philippines

For volunteers who want to get more involved in the community outreach aspect of our Medicine & Healthcare projects, you can join a full-time Public Health project. It’s a great opportunity to give back, as it provides healthcare for people who can’t normally access or afford these treatments. Volunteers can perform or assist with health checks, vaccinations, and medical campaigns.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering overseas, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org

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Contact:
Christian Clark
212-244-7234 
press@projects-abroad.org

Woodbury University Announces Groundbreaking Master’s Program in Media for Social Justice

With Accent on Apprenticeship, Grad Students Will Work Closely with Ashoka Fellows Harry Wiland and Dale Bell at Santa Monica’s Media Policy Center

LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2014) – Woodbury University (www.woodbury.edu) today announced the formation of a groundbreaking advanced degree program in Media for Social Justice. Students in the two-year M.A. program – which will reside in the university’s School of Media, Culture and Design — will learn how to cre­ate and lever­age media for social change. The program, accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), will welcome its first cohort in September 2014.

Through­out the two-year pro­gram, stu­dents will explore their com­mit­ment to social jus­tice, develop skills in trans­me­dia pro­duc­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship, and work closely with award-winning pro­duc­ers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell of the Media Policy Cen­ter in Santa Mon­ica (http://mediapolicycenter.org/).

The M.A. cur­ricu­lum will com­bine tra­di­tional course­work with an inno­v­a­tive, hands-on appren­tice­ship pro­gram that runs the entire course of the grad­u­ate degree. The program’s trans­me­dia approach will pro­vide an immer­sive media expe­ri­ence as students work together to advance the cause of social jus­tice across mul­ti­ple media formats and plat­forms. Students will emerge from the pro­gram as media entrepreneurs, with the knowl­edge, tools, and net­work­ing skills nec­es­sary for pro­duc­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing media that pro­motes greater social justice.

“The Media for Social Justice program is a very special collaboration between Woodbury University and the Media Policy Center,” said Nicole Keating, Ph.D., Chair, Media for Social Justice, Woodbury University. “Whether students want to produce documentaries, develop websites, design games, engage in research and writing, or design their own approach to transmedia production, our program teaches social entrepreneurship with an emphasis on civic engagement. Students will have the privilege of working with Harry and Dale, two media luminaries whose experience and expertise will shape apprenticeships that promise to be transformational.”

The Media for Social Justice curriculum consists of three core elements:

  • Transmedia Production – Transmedia production relies on varied yet related parts that work together to advance the cause of social justice and create a more immersive experience for audiences. Components may include documentary, graphic design, game design, print media, web design, animation, emerging platforms and more.
  • Creative Entrepreneurship – Students learn how to become social justice entrepreneurs in the creative economy through case studies and through the design, implementation, and evaluation of their own business plans.
  • Social Justice Media Studies – Students develop an in-depth understanding of the connection between media and social change by exploring historical and theoretical foundations as well as its political implications.

“We’re embracing new models in education and new models in media,” Keating said. “In serving as both school and studio, the new program strives to create a bridge between the classroom and the working world. We view them as complementary and as central to the notion of ‘practical idealism.’”

According to Bell, the program “fits in a new space between documentary filmmaking and journalism, a space created by the rise of digital media. The various forms of digital media are linked, whether game design, graphic design for print, or film and video production, and so on. We’re focused not just on students learning the skills of the medium but on how to get the word out regarding social justice, which in turn will foster entrepreneurship.”

“As the media production landscape shifts, hands-on experience becomes more vital than ever,” Wiland said. “Apprenticeship will be at the center of the program, in part because apprenticeships, unlike internships, provide real-world on-the-job training and will be fully integrated into the curriculum.”

Wiland and Bell — whose individual projects have won an Oscar®, five Emmys, a Peabody, and two Christophers — founded the not-for-profit Media Policy Center in 2003. The Ashoka Foundation, which showcases emerging ideas from highly effective social entrepreneurs, has recognized Wiland and Bell as Ashoka Fellows. Students enrolling in the inaugural class starting in Fall 2014 will be eligible to apply for Ashoka Graduate Fellow Scholarships as well as Dean’s Scholarships that will pay 50 percent of the program’s tuition.

About Woodbury University

Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor’s degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Organizational Leadership. A San Diego campus offers bachelor of architecture, Master of Real Estate Development for Architects (MRED), and Master of Science in Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism degrees.

Visit www.woodbury.edu for more information, and Reflections on Excellence (http://www.drluiscalingo.com/), the new twice-monthly blog written by Woodbury University President Luis Maria R. Calingo, Ph.D.

Media Contact
Ken Greenberg
Edge Communications, Inc.
(323) 469-3397
ken@edgecommunicationsinc.com

Launching Xeelion – the #1 Crowdfunding platform for students

Xeelion: efficient Crowdfunding

The crowdfunding industry is growing rapidly. It is no more people who invest in smaller companies that launch games and devices on Kickstarter but it’s becoming a real profitable industry. With volumes that reached $2.7 billion in 2012, and are expected to reach $5 billion in 2013, crowdfunding has emerged as a viable, scalable alternative to public and private finance across the globe, with a lot of new platforms announcing the launch every months.

Under these assumptions, a small team of international entrepreneurs is launching a platform with some new concepts, Xeelion – xeelion.com. But is there a real need of another platform in such a crowded industry? Fabio Bancalà, founder and Chief Executive at Xeelion, says: “Crowdfunding is currently booming, especially equity crowdfunding because small investors will be allowed to invest in high-growth and profitable startups after the approval of the Title III by the SEC. But equity-based platforms are mainly run by former Venture Capitalists who basically keep their attention to the investors’ needs. This means that young entrepreneurs, especially those who are at their first experience as founders, have to run their campaigns over investors-oriented platforms. Our mission is to provide an entrepreneurs-oriented platform to help young entrepreneurs during the vital phase of seeking capitals”. This is absolutely a great concept, and it is in line with the process of democratization introduced by crowdfunding, which has started as a  democratic movement and is currently turning into a real worthy industry. But the question is how will Xeelion allow only young entrepreneurs to start a campaign over its platform?

Xeelion’s business model is very easy: it is a crowdfunding platform for students who attend U.S. universities. This means that you will need a student@university.edu email to start a campaign. Everyone can join Xeelion’s community, fund reward and donation-based campaigns and after the platform will meet the SEC requirements even the equity ones, but only students are allowed to  start a campaign. Fabio, who is an Italian registered broker dealer with more than 15 years’ experience in startup and finance, explains how they are building an entrepreneurs-oriented platform: “The issue is that while students are close to startup space, they are often far from capitals. Students lack expertise and connection to capitals and professionals. At Xeelion we aim to offer specialized services to entrepreneurs with great ideas but few experience. For example we  will provide them with a tool to draft an effective business plan, or to report periodically their performances to investors”. This is one of the key elements of this new platform, because investors are often worried not to hear from the entrepreneurs they have invested in, and Xeelion’s strategy goes to the right direction while educating startups’ managers to communicate with their investors. The lack of flows of information is one of the most relevant problems of crowdfunding, especially equity crowdfunding, and startups which will ensure periodically reports to investors will gain their trust and raise capitals more easily. But Xeelion has also a high propension to social networking. In fact, it has developed an effective, easy-to-use social tool which will enable startuppers to easily spread the word within their own communities, not only by sharing their campaigns but also by inviting friends directly to see, like and follow their projects. This social tool will also be useful for investors. They will be able to share information about companies, talk about investment opportunities with other investors, follow Venture Capitalists and angels, and create club deals. Xeelion also differentiates itself from other platforms because allows only scientific projects which meet requirements of sustainability. The concept is that investors feel happy when they invest in profitable companies with sustainable business models, because they believe they are giving their contribution to build a better world. In addition, the fields in which Xeelion allows entrepreneurs to raise money are considered the most profitable ones by VCs and professional investors in general, how a recent research performed over more than one thousand VCs from the National Venture Capital Association has shown. The platform has achieved some milestone, even before the official launch. Some promising startups and entrepreneurs have already joined Xeelion and will run a fundraising campaign soon.

Not Alone, LLC for example, founded by Alex Watler, a Harvard student, is developing a GPS-enabled smart bracelet that will revolutionize the security industry as we know it; or Vision Industries, an e-commerce platform for independent brands founded by students at Johnson & Wales; or Thao, who is launching a project to help low income people in Vietnam, her beloved Country. “We feel a lot of interest around our venture” Says Mrs Jun Gong, graduated in Economics from University of Shanghai, MBA from Hult University of San Francisco, Chief Operating Officer at Xeelion and responsible for the Community Managers Program, a program of Universities Ambassadors launched by the company to increase the platform awareness within the campuses. “Many students are applying for a position of Community Manager. I receive many requests from our website every day, from all the main U.S. universities. And we also receive requests from entrepreneurs who are looking forward to running a campaign with Xeelion”. This shows that the managers are going to the right direction and Xeelion will soon become a lead player within the crowdfunding industry. “We will go live by April” ends Fabio “and allow investors and backers to invest from July 4th, a date that all the Americans can easily remember. Additionally, entrepreneurs and investors who will join our community before that date will not pay any fee on the campaigns”. So it seems that Xeelion has all the potentiality to become a niche platform, market leader for young entrepreneurs and #1 platform among students. A lead player and part of a great revolution, made by common people, for common people.

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Contact Fabio Bancalà
Cell +39 334 6867 807 
Email: fabio@xeelion.com
Website: www.xeelion.com

India’s 1st Skills Enterprise Challenge, ‘Power to Empower’ announces the winners for its third edition.

National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and India@75 announced UNNATI and Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd as the winners of the third Power to Empower 2013 Challenge.

March 19, 2014 | Delhi, India: National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and India@75 have announced Ramesh Swamy of UNNATI and Arindam Dasgupta of Tamul Plates Marketing Pvt. Ltd. as the winners of the Power to Empower 2013 Challenge (P2E 2013).

Supported by the Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, the CSR arm of the Muthoot Pappachan Group, the P2E 2013 Challenge was launched in October 2013 with the aim of identifying, selecting and rewarding the best solutions bridging the gap between the supply and demand of skilled labour in India.

This year, Power to Empower received a record 1,004 applications from over 150 cities across India and was managed by Ennovent and TiE Delhi-NCR. These applications were accepted as part of two distinct categories – Idea and Operations. P2E 2013 received 724 Idea and 280 Operations applications with the highest number of entries coming from New Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune respectively.

The winning Idea submitted by Guwahati based Tamul Plates Marketing focuses on generating rural livelihoods by producing and marketing biodegradable dinnerware. They also provide technical support and financial linkages to rural areca nut – commonly referred to as betel nut – producers. In contrast, the winning application within the Operations category, UNNATI is a Bangalore based organisation that runs a 70-day vocational training program for economically backward youth with an assured job at the end of the training period.

In addition to the winners, the finalists for the Idea category were Rachel Bennett, Bhavani B, Dwayne Dias and Dr. Shelley Batra. Their ideas for skill development ranged from projects such as Saarthi, which aims at creating teacher entrepreneurs to OpASHA, which hires local slum residents as community health-workers.

Within the Operations category, Guwahati based Sahayika and Gurgaon based INDHA received the second and third place respectively with TARA Livelihood Academy and GMR Varalakshmi Foundation being the other two finalists. While Sahayika is a skills initiative to assure respect and fair wages to home based caregivers, INDHA was started by Literacy India and provides women with vocational training in sewing, block printing, papermaking and more to empower underprivileged women and children.

The finalists and winners were selected after multiple rounds of expert evaluation by an esteemed jury panel consisting of Mr. S Ramadorai, Chairman NSDC, Mr. Rajan Navani, Chairman India@75, Mr. Pramod Bhasin, Vice Chairman, Genpact & Chairman, The Skills Academy and Mr. Thomas Muthoot, Executive Director Muthoot Fincorp Ltd amongst others.

At the ceremony held in Delhi to announce the winners, Mr. S Ramadorai, Chairman, NSDC, said, “My heartiest congratulations to all the winners, finalists and the participants. P2E as an initiative was designed to sensitize and encourage entrepreneurship in the skills space. Reaching out to grass-root entrepreneurs and enabling them to scale up their businesses is a step towards nation building. I hope through this effort we develop a system that not only encourages the concept of entrepreneurship, but actually works towards the achievement of creating a skilled workforce of 500 million by 2022.”

As part of the prizes for P2E 2013, UNNATI and Tamul Plates Marketing will receive INR 1.5 lakh and 3.5 lakh cash respectively by the Muthoot Pappachan Foundation, the CSR arm of the Muthoot Pappachan Group. Upon rewarding the prizes, Mr. Thomas Muthoot, Executive Director Muthoot Fincorp Ltd said, “The finalists did a great job in clearly explaining their solutions for enhancing the skills ecosystem in India. P2E 2013 has been a real eye opener, and a great initiative that we would like to be part of next year as well.”

Both winners will also receive access to the high profile capacity building Empretec program, an initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development as well as access to the iDiya program at ISB Hyderabad.

In addition to the above, the winners and finalists in each category will receive access to the Sankalp Unconvention Summit 2014 and to the Diffusion workshop by ISB, networking opportunities and national visibility.

Further talking about the Power to Empower 2013 Challenge, Mr. Rajan Navani, Chairman, National Committee, India@75, said, “The Power to Empower 2013 Challenge aspires to encourage young and budding entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and scalable business models working in the skills eco-system, so that they can contribute and decrease the demand – supply gap in the entry level workforce across sectors.

According to “Education To Employment: Designing a system that works” by McKinsey & Company, around 53 per cent of employers in India say that skills deficiency is one of the key reasons for entry-level vacancies. At present, of the 15 million individuals who enter the work force, only 3 per cent undergo any form of vocational training due to limited access to such training opportunities in a fast growing economy. As a result, a majority of India’s population cannot realize the employment opportunities necessary to improve their income leading to a more prosperous life.

Ennovent managed P2E 2013 on behalf of NSDC and India@75. In addition, TiE Delhi-NCR served as a knowledge and delivery partner for the Challenge and National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) as the key outreach partner.

About National Skill Development Corporation

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India. It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. It provides funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives. Its mandate is also to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships. Its objective is to contribute significantly (about 30 per cent) to the overall target of skilling/up skilling 500 million people in India by 2022.

About India@75

India@75 is a grassroots initiative aimed at realizing the dream of an inclusive, sustainable and developed India by the year 2022, when India completes 75 years of Independence. It is a universal vision for India shared by Indians from all geographies and all walks of life. The initiative is incubated and supported by the Confederation Indian Industry (CII).

About Ennovent

Ennovent is an innovation accelerator. We provide services to accelerate for-profit innovations for sustainability in low-income markets in developing countries. We specialise in helping clients discover enterprises with novel solutions, develop business models to start-up enterprises, provide finance by facilitating early-stage investments and grow operations to scale profit and impact. Since 2008, Ennovent has worked with over 4,800 Network members, 15 Circle members and 10 Solution clients to accelerate over 80 innovations in 10 countries.

About TiE Delhi-NCR

The Delhi Chapter is among the largest and most vibrant across the vast TiE network. In the last 12 years, of its existence it has emerged as the forum of choice for startups, serial entrepreneurs, VC and angel investors, policy makers and academia. At the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, TiE Delhi plays the role of an ecosystem builder by bringing in multiple stakeholders and values to align with the common goal to foster entrepreneurship. It boasts of an active membership of 1500 members in the Delhi-NCR region and conducts 60+ events in a year.

About Muthoot Pappachan Group and Muthoot Pappachan Foundation

Muthoot Pappachan Group is a diversified corporate conglomerate with presence across various businesses. In financial services, it offers a range of products & services including gold loan, auto loan, affordable housing finance & microfinance through a wide network of over 3600 branches. Muthoot Pappachan Foundation (MPF), the CSR arm of the Muthoot Pappachan Group, facilitates the CSR activities for the entire Group Companies. Its objective is to build a framework of corporate social responsibility with a philanthropic approach in line with business unit objectives. The CSR initiatives are focussed on the areas of Health, Education, Environment and Livelihood (HEEL).

Media Contact:

Perzen Patel, Manager – Marketing, Ennovent
Email: perzen.patel@ennovent.com

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NMBC and TNJ Influential Black Women Unite for Vision on Africa

New York, NY (March 18, 2014) – The National Minority Business Council, Inc.(NMBC), a 42-year-old nonprofit serving minority, women-, and veteran-owned businesses, The Network Journal (TNJ), a leading U.S. business magazine for Black professionals and business owners, and Vision on Africa, a U.S.- and Ethiopia-based nonprofit dedicated to health enhancement and capacity building among women and youth in Africa, agreed to collaborate to advance the mission of Vision on Africa while expanding the entrepreneurship development efforts of the NMBC and TNJ.

The official announcement of this joint humanitarian/professional venture will be made on Thursday, March 27, 2014, at TNJ’s 16th Annual 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards and Luncheon, at the Marriott New York Marquis in mid-Manhattan. Michelle Miller, CBS News Correspondent, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies for what is slated as one of New York City’s most prestigious events of the year. The Luncheon event will celebrate women who redefine excellence and recognize some of the most successful women in business.

Vision on Africa was established as a 501 (c)(3) entity in the State of Virginia in 2003 by Senedu Araya-Sellassie, founder and CEO. Ms. Araya, who is Ethiopian, set up the organization’s offices in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, upon her return to that country after living in the United States for several years.

“Vision On Africa is thrilled to be partnering with the NMBC and The Network Journal, whose work reaches across the United States and beyond,” said Ms. Araya-Sellassie. “These two highly respected organizations bring a wonderful reservoir of expertise and knowledge that will help to drive our efforts to build the capacity of African enterprises, especially those owned by women.”

Ms. Araya-Sellassie is the recipient of the L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest civilian honor, and was named an Honorary Daughter of the Blue Nile, Blue Nile Passage, of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem-NY, for her work with Vision On Africa.

“The Network Journal looks forward to working with Vision On Africa in doing its part to ensure sustainable livelihoods for women and children on the continent,” said Rosalind Kilkenny McLymont, Executive Editor of the magazine. “For the past sixteen consecutive years our magazine has honored some of the most outstanding women in the private, public, academic and nonprofit sectors in the United States, and many of them have expressed the desire to put their knowledge and expertise to use in Africa. Vision On Africa is an excellent vehicle for them to do just that.”

John F. Robinson, president and CEO of the NMBC, said: “While the NMBC is no stranger to the global arena, we are particularly excited at the prospect of partnering with Vision on Africa through our Women’s Business Committee to build entrepreneurial capacity among women and youth on the continent of Africa. The members of the Committee are experienced entrepreneurs who can ably carry the baton in this unique collaboration with VoA.”

To purchase tickets to the 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards and Luncheon, please visit: http://tnj.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=4078. Individual tickets are $300 each, if purchased before March 20, 2014, and $350 thereafter. Tables of ten may be purchased at $3,000. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be available at the door. For more information please call 212-962-3791.

About National Minority Business Council


Founded in 1972 as a full-service, non-profit (501)(c)(3) corporation, the National Minority Business Council’s primary purpose is to enhance the success and profitability of the small business community through the provision of high-quality services, education, mentoring programs, advocacy and networking support. The NMBC is a membership organization that includes hundreds of small, minority, women owned and veteran owned businesses located nationally and internationally. Given the various levels of business expertise among the members, the NMBC strives to develop programs that are suited to the needs of the new start-up as well as seasoned entrepreneur.

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MEDIA CONTACTS:
National Minority Business Council
Ulysses Williams
201-270 7405 
Ulysses@nmbc.org

The Network Journal
Rosalind McLymont
212-962-3791
rmclymont@tnj.com

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