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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
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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.

City Of Philadelphia Launches Fastfwd; Challenges Entrepreneurs To Address Public Safety Issues

Philadelphia, October 30, 2013–  Mayor Michael A. Nutter officially launched FastFWD, an Urban Innovation Refinery, a partnership between the City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group, a social enterprise accelerator, and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  FastFWD, formerly known as the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, is an initiative that seeks to recruit and support entrepreneurs in developing solutions to urban challenges.  In its inaugural year, FastFWD will focus on public safety.

“Our Administration is committed to public safety, spending $1.8 billion last year on behalf of our citizens,” said Mayor Nutter.  “FastFWD is a unique approach to engage and utilize public-private partnerships and to encourage private sector to work with government in the public interest.  In FastFWD’s first cycle, our goal is to harness entrepreneurial talents, resources and innovative ideas to create solutions to the most pressing public safety challenges that our city, and other cities, face every day.”

FastFWD invites entrepreneurs to offer their most innovative public safety solutions, services and products for consideration.   Entrepreneurs that submit the most promising ideas will be given capital, development support and access to experts to help refine and implement their ideas.

“As cities face greater challenges with increasingly fewer resources, the need for entrepreneurial innovation has never been greater,” said Story Bellows, Co-Director, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. “With the launch of FastFWD, we are calling on entrepreneurs to submit their brightest and boldest ideas for consideration.  We look forward to seeing the depth of talent and creativity they have to offer.”

Applications are due by December 20, 2013.

Ten finalists will be selected in spring 2014 to participate in an intensive, twelve-week accelerator program.  During the program, finalists will refine their proposal under the guidance of legal counsel, investors, industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs.  Finalists who enter the accelerator program will receive $10,000 stipends provided by FastFWD.

Upon completion of the accelerator program, the finalists’ proposals will be eligible for implementation as a fast-track funded pilot.

Professor Katherine Klein, Vice Dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative added, “Wharton Social Impact Initiative is thrilled to be helping the city in spurring entrepreneurial solutions to urban challenges. The FastFWD process represents a cutting-edge approach, linking business, city government and the University to create sustainable solutions.  There’s a palpable sense of excitement and optimism among all who are participating in this process, including the Mayor – a Wharton alum – and his team.” 

“Above all, FastFWD will offer entrepreneurs access. The program will provide access to the core problems, prioritizing and presenting them as target of entrepreneurial opportunity, said Garrett Melby, Founder and Managing Director, GoodCompany Group. “FastFWD will also provide access to expertise for entrepreneurs to refine their ideas with subject-matter experts, and hone their business model with finance experts from The Wharton School.”

In addition, the City announced that FastFWD will partner with Impact Hub on entrepreneur engagement and Code for America on procurement reform.

For more information on FastFWD, including applications, log onto http://fast-fwd.org

Obamacare, Crowdfunding, And The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom

The Republicans and Democrats who have been fighting over whether Obamacare will be good or bad for business may be in for a surprise, since a new breed of crowdfunding is poised to change the equation.
Instead of debating whether Obamacare is good for business, the real question may be, “what kind of business will Obamacare help?” We may be on the verge of an entrepreneurial boom the likes of which America has not seen in recent history because of a one two punch of insurance freedom plus a new way to finance businesses. 
 
After sixteen days of shutdown, the federal government is up and running again and, despite a titanic political struggle, The Affordable Care Act is rolling out as planned. For the first time, needing health insurance is not a reason for aspiring entrepreneurs to hold on to their corporate jobs. 

At the same, some big cracks are forming in the glass ceiling of raising business capital thanks to the launch of an innovative crowdfunding platform called CuttingEdgeX (CEX) pioneered by two lawyers dedicated to strengthening communities through empowering businesses.

CuttingEdgeX is a relatively new concept called “investment crowdfunding.” The founders of CEX, John Katovich and Jenny Kassan, are attorneys who specialize in helping small to medium sized businesses. They have taken that expertise online with www.CuttingEdgeX.com, which is not donation-based like other crowdfunding websites. And CEX is open to ALL investors, both wealthy and non-wealthy. CuttingEdgeX “offers actual investments with the expectation of a financial return rather than a T-shirt or discounted item,” says Katovich. 

Listing on CEX is currently free of charge, though in the future, a nominal monthly fee may be charged.  CEX also provides a fee-based white label platform that allows automated online investing on the issuer’s own website. Also, to be eligible to list on CuttingEdgeX, each business needs to have completed securities filings for a Direct Public Offering in the states where they want to be able to accept investors. The attorneys behind CEX can guide entrepreneurs through that process, if needed. The legal fees to complete the requirements for raising money from the public through a DPO usually add up to approximately $25k. That is a fairly modest investment when statistically the median net worth of business owners is almost 2.5 times higher than non-business owners. And that increases even more dramatically for minority owned companies. For a black woman, the difference is more than 10 times; and for a Latino man, the difference is 5 times.

CEX can help entrepreneurs avoid the scramble for Venture Capital dollars and the frustration of courting Angel Investors. CuttingEdgeX is like Match.com for investors and entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur creates a business profile and it remains online on CEX constantly pitching their business to investors day and night. 
 
The nonpartisan Urban Institute reports, “The Affordable Care Act will allow 1.5 million more Americans to self-employ.” And through a research project funded by Citi, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity discovered that if only “one in three micro-enterprises hired one employee, the U.S. economy would reach full employment.”
The combo of Obamacare and investment crowdfunding like CuttingEdgeX is a recipe for far more entrepreneurs entering the marketplace than ever before. And that may end up profiting all Americans. 

New Report Highlights Use of Entrepreneurship to Solve Social, Environmental and Economic Problems

NEW YORK, July 31, 2013 – There is a revolution going on in the world of social change. Across the nonprofit, private, and public sectors, innovators are expanding how they approach problems through new business models and driving change effectively.  Today, the McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute issued a new white paper delving into these and a variety of other questions surrounding social entrepreneurship in the United States.

The report by Georgia Levenson Keohane “Social Entrepreneurship: How Innovative Change-Makers Are Testing New Solutions to Entrenched Social, Economic and Environmental Problems,” uses case studies on topics as varied as Teach for America and the government of New York City to illustrate how the social entrepreneurship phenomenon has reshaped the way that human services are delivered.

America has a rich history of entrepreneurship, not just in the capital realm but in the social as well, including the American Red Cross founder Clara Barton and Martin Luther King, Jr. With this foundation, American society is ripe for an increasing reliance on social entrepreneurship, the author writes. For instance, some advocates say that foundations should learn from venture capital models and entities that fund social change should focus on providing more money over longer time frames to fewer organizations and to work closely with grantees to ensure future success.

Commercialization has benefitted philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, reshaping them to better assist their targets. For example, Keohane cites the microcredit industry which harnesses private capital for social purpose by providing small loans made to people who would not otherwise qualify at traditional lending institutions. The notion of microcredit began in the mid-1970s in Bangladesh, and by the early 2000s, commercial investors entered the industry. Today, $65 billion of microcredit loans are made to some 100 million borrowers worldwide, and much of this growth, Keohane says, is due to an infusion of private capital.

Keohane says social entrepreneurship has been around for years but this new activism is growing given its momentum, sweep and fundamental approach to problem-solving. She eyes an even bigger future for social entrepreneurship in the decades ahead, citing innovations in philanthropy, such as an increased emphasis on measurement and evaluation, the role of technology and the growth of nonprofit investment funds.

“The coming years will mark new inroads for social entrepreneurship, with better defined solutions for government and private leaders to collectively work together towards broader social change and shared prosperity,” said Keohane, who writes regularly on social and economic policy and the intersection of business and society for the Harvard Business Review, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, Slate, and other publications. She is also the author of Social Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century: Innovation Across the Nonprofit, Private and Public Sectors, which informed many of the concepts outlined in the report.

 To download the full report, visit  http://www.mhfi.com/about/global-institute/white-papers/social-entrepreneurship.

MoolaHoop Launches Rewards-Based Crowdfunding Platform Dedicated to Women Entrepreneurs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and AUSTIN, TX (July 24, 2013) – Launching today, MoolaHoop is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform designed to help women-owned businesses achieve financial success. Created by women to help women leverage the increasing power of crowdfunding to start, build or grow their business, MoolaHoop enables female business entrepreneurs, owners and managers to garner financial support for their idea or project by leveraging their social networks.

MoolaHoop’s launch features the BlueAvocado and Open Arms campaign to fund the creation of an eco-collection of Made in the USA reusable totes manufactured by women war survivors using reclaimed t-shirts and remnant fabrics.

MoolaHoop was developed to help narrow the gap in funding available to women entrepreneurs. Women-owned businesses represent almost 30% of new startups in the U.S., yet receive just 5% of all venture capital and 12% of all institutional debt. As a result, they are smaller from the onset and grow more slowly. Capitalizing on the explosive growth in rewards-based crowdfunding, MoolaHoop is out to change this dynamic.

Austin, TX-based BlueAvocado is a women-founded, women-run, certified B Corp that has realized double-digit growth the past two years and is at a growth inflection point as consumers seek to “green” their lifestyle.  To expand its product portfolio and further green its supply chain, BlueAvocado turned to MoolaHoop, allowing its customers to help them grow and innovate. Through a partnership with Open Arms—a women-owned manufacturing company that employs women refugee survivors—BlueAvocado is using MoolaHoop to fund a new line of Made in the USA reusable bags produced from reclaimed t-shirts and remnant fabrics and manufactured in Austin by Open Arms employees. As a result, BlueAvocado can offer a line of Made in the USA products produced locally, and Open Arms can expand its manufacturing capacity and provide more employment opportunities for women refugee survivors.

“Our partnership with Moola Hoop and Open Arms is a demonstration of the power of women entrepreneurs to create a better world through business. Our campaign invites others to ‘Say YES’ to wasting less and empowering more, and the MoolaHoop platform makes it possible,” commented BlueAvocado Co-Founder Amy George. “If 4,000 people Say YES to one reusable bag we can keep more than 200,000 disposable bags out of landfills, upcycle 2,000 T-shirts and give four women survivors a full-time job, benefits and literacy classes for four months. If 40,000 Say YES, we can employ 28 women, and avoid two million disposables. This is deep, measurable impact.”

“We are delighted to highlight the Say YES project as part of our launch,” said MoolaHoop Co- Founder Brenda Bazan. “It’s an inspired concept that supports our mission to help make it easier for great women entrepreneurs to get funded, and a project that will strongly resonate with our users. By using the MoolaHoop platform to engage and enlist BlueAvocado and Open Arms customers and supporters, we are confident they will reach their crowdfunding goal.”

The MoolaHoop crowdfunding platform marks the first step in the design and development of a robust ecosystem of business services, information and partnerships – the “Hoop” – to fund and provide ongoing support to women entrepreneurs. As envisioned by company Co-Founders Brenda Bazan and Nancy Hayes, MoolaHoop will grow to offer a full suite of resources to support women-owned and -led businesses, including access to equity funding, education, mentoring and skills.

In addition to the Say YES BlueAvocado/Open Arms campaign, MoolaHoop launches with a project by Live Worldly to expand its global fashion marketplace; a campaign to help Life Out of the Box grow its line of artisan jewelry; and Tatty Tat’s  project to enable the creation and purchase of personalized temporary tattoos from mobile devices. With new projects posted weekly, MoolaHoop anticipates hosting more than 20 women-focused crowdfunding campaigns over the next few months.

For more information, to submit a project, or to contribute to a current MoolaHoop campaign, please visitwww.moola-hoop.com.

About MoolaHoop

Founded by two experienced women business leaders, MoolaHoop is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform designed for women entrepreneurs. Capitalizing on the explosive growth in rewards-based crowdfunding—projected to generate more than $700 million for businesses and projects in 2013— MoolaHoop is the only platform dedicated to the funding and acceleration of U.S.-based women-owned or-led businesses. MoolaHoop is building an ecosystem of business support and services, and developing partnerships with women-focused organizations and institutions, to seamlessly connect women to the financial, human and social capital they need for business success. MoolaHoop has offices in Dallas, TX and San Francisco, CA. www.moola-hoop.com.

About Blue Avocado

BlueAvocado is a premium eco-lifestyle brand synonymous with inspiration, impact and integrity. With its covetable designs, affordable price points and sustainable products, BlueAvocado is poised to deliver on their promise to empower people to reduce their ecological footprint, enable the dreams of other women entrepreneurs and create an impact that inspires action. In fact, the original vision of three women, friends and sisters, has evolved into a new model for business success, a better B-corp business. To date, the company has kept over 128 million disposable alternatives out of landfills, upcycled more than three million bottles and invested in more than 450 women micro-entrepreneurs. Find out more about their mission to “smile more and waste less” at www.blueavocado.com.

About Open Arms

Open Arms is a social enterprise using the power of business to inspire social change. This humanitarian manufacturing company, based in Austin, TX, creates its own brand of fashionable apparel as well as offering U.S.-based manufacturing for other brands. Open Arms offers living wage employment to women war survivors, demonstrating the power of the human spirit and breaking the cycle of poverty this group  so often experiences. Combining ESL and enrichment classes with family-friendly hours, this meaningful work and living wage employment creates self-sufficiency and dignity for the women they employ. Open Arms is committed to both people and the planet, offering conscious consumers the opportunity to make  a purchase with a purpose. www.theopenarmsshop.com.

Haitian entrepreneur launches crowdfunding campaign to rebuild fuel-efficient stoves factory destroyed in earthquake

8 July 2013 (New York, NY) – Haitian social enterprise  D&E Green Enterprises is launching a campaign through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to rebuild a factory destroyed during the 2010 earthquake. The project will help improve the lives of people in Haiti by bringing a fuel-efficient charcoal cooking stove to the market.

 

In 2009, entrepreneur Duquesne Fednard set up D&E Green Enterprises to produce an efficient charcoal-burning stove that would reduce the amount of charcoal needed to cook food, and ease the strain on Haiti’s overexploited forests. The specially designed cooking stove – called the EcoRecho – uses 50% less charcoal than traditional Haitian cooking stoves.

 

But in January 2010, Duquesne’s newly built cookstoves factory was destroyed by the earthquake in Haiti. Production continued in donated tents, which were later damaged by hurricanes Isaac and Sandy. Although Duquesne thought of giving up, his dedicated staff persuaded him to keep going.

 

In the face of adversity, D&E Green Enterprises has made and sold 33,000 of its EcoRecho stoves in the past three years. It has now turned to crowdfunding in a bid to rebuild its factory and enter full production.

 

Duquesne Fednard, CEO of D&E Green Enterprises said:

“A simple device such as a cookstove has the power to truly transform Haiti by empowering households, end users and small businesses. The fact that D&E can achieve this cheaply and safely for the environment is really a win-win situation. Our vision is to break the cycle of energy poverty by specializing in the manufacture and distribution of low-cost, high-efficiency energy technologies for people living in the developing world. By backing this project, people will help  better the living conditions of both present and future generations in Haiti.”

 

A range of perks is being offered by the campaign. At the lowest level, backers will have their names inscribed on the factory wall. A range of higher level perks are also available – including a chance to visit the factory once it is built.

 

To support the campaign, go to http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fight-energy-poverty-rebuilding-an-efficient-stove-factory

 

To find out more about D&E Green Enterprises, visit http://www.dandegreen.org/ and follow @DEGreenEnt on Twitter

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