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MySocialGoodNews is dedicated to sharing news about
social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy
and corporate social responsibility.

Crowdfunding for Social Good

Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

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.

NMBC’s 11th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference Salutes Women in Finance During the Month of March

NEW YORK, NY (March 6, 2014 )The National Minority Business Council, Inc. (NMBC) will host its 11th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference with the theme “Financial Strategies for Business Growth” on Thursday, March 20th 2014, 8:30 AM – 2:30 PM at BNY Mellon, 101 Barclay Street, New York City, NY 10286. 

Photo: Dawn Henning

Dawn Henning, Vice Chair NMBC Board of Directors and Chair NMBC Women’s Business Committee is elated to host the annual event which allows women to connect and recognize their excellence while sharing proven approaches toward leadership and achievements.“Women in business are making a tremendous impact on the economy. During the most challenging economic times the focus must continue to be on growth,” states Ms. Henning.

The luncheon keynote will be provided by Randy Joy Epstein, CEO of Randy Joy & Co, CPA, and Founder & Co-organizer of TEDx Times Square. Ms Epstein is considered a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker and shoulder for entrepreneurs and CEOs to lean on to solve issues and grow their companies. CEOs and investors seek her direction on how to focus the entire company towards growth. “Knowing that failure is indeed an option,” Ms. Epstein shares, “CHOOSE. True failure is not falling but rather not picking yourself up when you fall and trying again.” It is that business acumen that has inspired not only women, but business leaders to heed her shrewd advice.


The morning workshops will explore three important topics with the following panels of financial experts:

Panel 1 – Invest in Your Business and You

Moderator – Debralee Nelson, CFP®, Senior Director, BNY Mellon Wealth Management; Panelists – Monika Mantilla, President & CEO, Altura Capital; and Brian Scanlon, CFP®,CRPS, Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager, Corporate Retirement Director, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley.

Panel 2 – Minding Your Money – Is Your Business Financially Healthy?

Moderator and Panelist – Geri Stengel, President, Stengel Solutions and Ventureneer; Panelists – Stacy Francis, CFP®, President and CEO, Francis Financial, Inc.; Samantha Champagnie, CPA, Founding Member, Champagnie Dawkins, CPAs, PLLC; and Dr. Michael C. Grayson, President and CEO, Grayson Financial Service

Panel 3 – Show me the Money! Financing Options for Your Business

Moderator – Coco Corona, Marketing, Valley Economic Development Corp.; Panelists – Deborah Jackson, Founder, Plum Alley; Marlene Citron, President, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. and The Business Initiative Corporation of NY; Erica Dorn, Manager of Lending- New York, Accion East; and Jessie Lee, Director, Valley Economic Development Corp.

Advanced registration is required. To register for this event, visit NMBC website at www.nmbc.org or call Mr. John Robinson, NMBC President & CEO at 347-289-7620.

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.

MEDIA INQUIRIES CONTACT
Ulysses Williams
Ulysses.Williams@nmbc.org

Entrepreneurs’ Organization Helps Raise Nearly $50K for Paul Walker’s Foundation, Reach Out WorldWide

EO Utah Hosts Celebrity Poker Tournament at Sundance Film Festival

Park City, UT — Jan. 31, 2014 – Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Utah raised nearly $50,000 for the Paul Walker non-profit, Reach Out WorldWide, at the 2nd annual EO Utah Sundance Experience. The event was in memory of Paul Walker who was an actor and founder of Reach Out WorldWide, a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, a professional poker player known for his intricate chip tricks hosted the Black Diamond at Sundance Celebrity Poker Tournament.

Actors Jeremiah Bitsui from Breaking Bad and Kevin Pollak of Mom attended the invite-only event with 75 local and global EO member companies and their guests. The $2,000 per player event was held January 21 at Empire Canyon Lodge in Deer Valley. Dan Davenport, president and owner of Mountainland Design attended as a guest and won the tournament.

“Each year EO Utah chooses a non-profit to support during Sundance. Last year, we contributed to The Mali Rising Foundation and this year we raised money for an organization that helps with disaster relief both here in the United States and abroad,” said Dave Nicolson, EO Utah Education Chair. “It was a fun evening and we look forward to continuing the tradition of giving back during the Sundance Film Festival.”

The tournament was organized by Nicolson and Jade Phoenix www.jadephoenixcorp.com, a volunteer community organization dedicated to providing services and volunteer corps to non-profit organizations who support charitable causes, as well as cultivating the spirit of volunteerism. The music group The Tea Street Band made a surprise performance at the event and saxophonist Alto Reed also performed. Internationally renowned artist Josée Nadeau www.joseenadeau.com painted Reed in six minutes during his live performance.

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The Black Diamond at Sundance Celebrity Poker Tournament was part of the four day EO Utah Sundance Experience event, which was organized in large part by By Invitation Only founder Justin Kinnaird, who passed away unexpectedly Sunday. In addition, the event included five VIP screenings, film panels and workshops with the goal of connecting entrepreneurs.

“You get to meet with other business owners locally and around the world. Business relationships are created from events like this,” said Ron Nielson, EO Forum Chair. “There’s no question relationships are formed and business is done.”

EO Utah Chapter members connect with each other locally on a monthly basis in forums that bring together a group of eight to 12 entrepreneurs for peer-to-peer learning, business networking and support. EO Utah also hosts a variety of lunch and learns, power breakfasts, socials and family events throughout the year.

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About the Entrepreneurs’ Organization: The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) – for entrepreneurs only – is a dynamic, global network of more than 9,500 business owners in 40 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO is the catalyst that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life. There are 80 members in Utah. For more information go to eoaccess.eonetwork.org/utah

Contact Information
Shaun Ritchie
President, EO Utah
(801) 641-8131
shaun@neutroninteractive.com
Julie Jakob
Incoming President, EO Utah
(801) 712-0665
Julie@jakobmp.com

MFX Solutions Supports $500 Million in Local Currency Loans to Micro-entrepreneurs

WASHINGTON, DC, January 29, 2014 – Today MFX Solutions announced that it has hedged the risk on over $500 million in microfinance loans to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries since 2010. These loans have been made in more than 30 currencies and have benefited over 800,000 entrepreneurs world-wide.

MFX was established in 2009 by a group of microfinance funds and foundations to fill a clear need for more local currency lending and better currency risk management in microfinance. A 2010 study sponsored by MFX revealed that microfinance institutions carried more than $6 billion of currency exposure, the result of borrowing in foreign currency to fund their local operations.

Brian Cox, MFX’s CEO said, “This milestone demonstrates that international microfinance lenders are indeed moving toward a safer, more equitable model of lending in local currency. We are proud to be part of this transformation, and we are convinced that better risk management is key to microfinance reaching its potential.”

Eliza Erikson, chair of the board at MFX and a director of investments at Omidyar Network, stated, “We could not be more pleased with the success of MFX. When Omidyar Network first invested in 2009, we predicted that MFX would transform the industry by solving the fundamental problem of currency mismatch, which puts microentrepreneurs at serious risk. MFX has since surpassed even our most optimistic expectations, and we see the microfinance sector as just the beginning. As impact investing begins to expand, it will need partners like MFX to reach its true potential.”

Rita van den Abbeel, Chief Risk Officer at Incofin IM, a Belgium-based microfinance fund, noted, “Our partnership with MFX is critical to how we do business. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) need funding in their own currencies in order to grow safely. On the other hand we also have to respect our investors risk appetite which limits the amount of currency exposure we can take. Thanks to MFX, we are able to meet the needs of the MFIs and their micro-entrepreneur clients while effectively managing our risk as required by our investors.”

About MFX:

MFX offers currency swaps and forward contracts to international MSME lenders to offset the risk they take when lending in the local currency of their borrowers. MFX receives support from US and Dutch government agencies OPIC and FMO and has a partnership with the Dutch exotic currency fund The Currency Exchange (TCX).

MFX’s clients are over 50 leading microfinance and SME loan funds. In addition to providing hedging services, MFX works with emerging microfinance institutions across Africa to help them understand, quantify and manage financial risk. With better risk management in place, these institutions are better able to access international funding and accelerate growth.

MFX’s investors are major microfinance lenders, investors, raters, networks, and foundations. MFX operates globally, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. and offices in Harare, Dakar and Kampala.

Additional information is available on MFX’s website at www.mfxsolutions.com.

Cherokee-McDonough Challenge Seeks Environmental Entrepreneurs

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Accelerator Accepts Applications for Start-Ups to Receive Advisory Services and Funding

(Raleigh, NC) – January 30, 2014 – The Cherokee-McDonough Challenge, an accelerator designed to identify, fund and develop high impact environmental startups, has kicked off its fourth year of the program. The Challenge is seeking to support entrepreneurs who are addressing significant environmental challenges using viable, scalable business models. The application period is open now through April 15th. Information on the Challenge and how to apply can be found at www.cherokeechallenge.com

The group will select up to five ventures for the 2014 class. Entrepreneurs will participate in the three month accelerator program, which includes one-on-one and group advisory services, co-working space, start-up business services, and $20,000 in seed funding.

Participants that complete the program are typically well positioned for additional funding, have a working proto-type, are adept at communicating with potential investors, and have access to a strong network of investors, entrepreneurs, and advisors. Past participants have gone on to raise over $2 million in venture funding, including grants, debt and equity funding.

“We believe the environmental challenges that confront our society today will be solved by creative, determined entrepreneurs. Time has proven that a private sector, market-based approach is the best way to address such challenges,” said JT Vaughn, Director, Cherokee-McDonough Challenge. “Our role is to help develop and connect high quality start-ups so they can attract capital and get their ideas to market.”

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In addition to facilitating the accelerator program, the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge will serve as a commercialization advisor for the recently announced Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute that is being led by NC State University.

About Cherokee

The Challenge is sponsored by Cherokee, an environmentally focused investment company. Cherokee has raised over $2 billion in private equity funds focused on brownfield remediation and, separately, founded a number of environmental businesses and invested in over 80 startups and venture funds in the past 30 years. Through the Challenge, Cherokee hopes to lend experience and expertise to other environmental entrepreneurs. For more information or to submit an application, visit www.cherokeechallenge.com.

About William McDonough

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. A pioneer architect of the green building movement, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as a “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that-in demonstrable and practical ways-is changing the design of the world.” In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, the nation’s highest environmental honor, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries, the carpet division of Berkshire Hathaway. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. McDonough advises major enterprises including commercial and governmental leaders worldwide through McDonough Advisors. McDonough also co-founded Make It Right (2006) with Brad Pitt to bring affordable, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes to the New Orleans Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina. He is co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002) and The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability — Designing for Abundance (2013).

Utah Produces Top Student Entrepreneurs Globally Three Years in a Row

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Utah is gaining worldwide recognition for its entrepreneurial spirit

Salt Lake City, Utah – December 16, 2013 – For the past three years, students from Utah have taken the top spots at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA). Spencer Quinn, founder and CEO of FiberFix, won on November 23 and Chelsea Sloan, founder and CEO of Uptown Cheapskate, won in 2012. Garrett Gee, founder of Scan.me took second place in 2011. The students competed on an international level against roughly 1,600 applicants from 37 countries on six continents.

Quinn, a Brigham Young University student will receive $150,000 in cash and in-kind business services from the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). Earlier this year, Quinn and his cousin Eric Child founded FiberFix, the long-lasting repair tape that is 100x stronger than duct tape. They have been featured on Shark Tank, QVC, and are already in more than 1,600 stores across the country.

“The business community here in Utah is very supportive of young entrepreneurs. I’m incredibly grateful for the local business mentors who have shared valuable advice,” said Quinn.

GSEA winners have the opportunity to learn how to become a better entrepreneur from EO members worldwide and in Utah through mentoring. According to Shaun Ritchie, EO Utah President, many Utah business owners have built companies in a state where giving back is common so they are happy to provide mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs.

“EO Utah supports GSEA because it’s a great opportunity for more experienced entrepreneurs to engage with younger ones who are just staring their businesses and seeing some initial success,” said Ritchie. “We have been able to mentor some of them as well as highlight some of their accomplishments. We’re all about sharing our own experiences, both successes and failures, to build a better entrepreneur.”

According to John E. Richards, the founder of the Utah Student 25 competition, it’s the pioneer spirit that fuels entrepreneurship. Richards is currently head of operations for Google Fiber in Utah and also teaches at BYU. The Utah Student 25 competition encourages student entrepreneurs with at least $1 in revenue to submit his or her company to the competition for consideration of being ranked in the Top 25 by revenue and profits.

“BYU has a highly ranked entrepreneurship program with massive mentoring programs and other universities in Utah are strong,” said Richards. “The pioneering spirit in Utah is congruous with entrepreneurship. Youth get acclimated towards calculated risk management due to general ‘can do’ belief system,”

In 2012, Chelsea Sloan was the GSEA’s first female winner. Sloan and her brother Scott founded the Uptown Cheapskate franchise, which buys, sells and consigns new and gently used clothing and accessories. Uptown Cheapskate has expanded to 26 locations in 16 states with 14 more stores expected to open by the end of the year.

“I think people underestimate Utah. We have a thriving entrepreneurial culture, and people are confident and optimistic in their prospects for success. I’m not the only one of my friends to start a business in college – it’s common,” said Sloan. “Best of all, Utah is business friendly, and we don’t have to fight overly restrictive regulations in order to help people buy and sell stylish used clothing.”

Both Sloan and Garrett Gee, CEO and co-founder of Scan.me, have used their financial success and resources to give back to the community. In 2013, Uptown Cheapskate raised almost $40,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Kiva by having customers make a small donation instead of using a plastic bag. Uptown Cheapskate also donates hundreds of items to the Salt Lake mission and Road Home daily. Garrett Gee was the 2011 GSEA 2nd place winner and also a contestant on Shark Tank. According to Gee, Scan.me is currently beta testing a QR code product to collect donations on behalf of non-profits. Scan.me connects the real world with the digital universe through mobile technologies like QR codes, NFC, image recognition and other products.

“With more than 50 million downloads to date, we wanted to give back and make this world a better place. GSEA really kick started our business helping us transition from a student project to a multi-million dollar funded start-up,” said Gee.

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About the Entrepreneurs’ Organization:

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) – for entrepreneurs only – is a dynamic, global network of more than 9,500 business owners in 40 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO is the catalyst that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.The Entrepreneurs’ Organization also operates the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), the premier award program for high school, undergraduate and graduate students that own and run businesses while attending college or university. We have 79 members in the Utah chapter.

Contacts:

Shaun Ritchie, EO Utah President
(801)641-8131 | shaun@neutroninteractive.com
Micaela Choo, EO Utah PR/Social Strategic Partner
(801) 319-7121 | micaela@bitingdogcommunications.com

HEDGE FUNDS • PORTALS • ENTREPRENEURS • INVESTORS – CROWDFUND GLOBAL EXPO 2014

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Platforms and Portals, Security firms, Title II and III Experts, Attorneys, financial and fund managers, Start-ups, Real Estate Developers and Brokers, P-to-P investors, entrepreneurs, investors, incubators and accelerators meet up during this two-day professional event while attending informative keynote sessions and networking with industry leaders.

SAN DIEGO, CA — On January 30-31, 2014 Crowdfund Weekly News, Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP, Invested.in, and Leverage PR, present two full days of high-level educational sessions, networking, business development, Keynote addresses, and receptions at the San Diego Convention Center.The Crowdfund Global Expo is a pivotal event for the crowdfund and finance industries, and the number one event for professionals taking crowdfunding to the next level.

Only at the Crowdfund Expo will you have the chance to meet face-to face with industry leaders and instrumental SEC officials.

“2014 marks the date that Title III Non Accredited Crowdfunding will join Title II Accredited Crowdfunding and ease the pathway for entrepreneurs to raise capital in the US and also afford individual investors the opportunity to consider investing in a wider array of entrepreneurial activities.” States Doug Ellenoff, Partner at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole LLP.

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Doug Ellenoff

Leaders and speakers include: DJ Paul, CSO at Gate Global Impact & Co-Chair of CfIRA, Doug Ellenoff, Partner at Ellenoff, Grossman & Schole LLP, Brendan Ross, President at Direct Lending Investments, Alon Goren, Co-Founder & President of Invested.in and Kim Wales, Founder of Wales Capital and Crowdbureau, Judd Hollas CEO of Equity Net, Brendan Ross, President of Direct Lending Investment LLC, and many more crowdfunding leaders.

“We at CFIRA applaud Ms. Downs and her organization for orchestrating what will clearly be the first important crowdfunding conference of 2014. Both the breadth as well as the specificity of the agenda and the stature of the proposed speakers look to be the makings of a great and productive event.” emphasizes DJ Paul, CSO – Gate Global Impact, Co-chair, CfIRA.

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DJ Paul

“As one of the premier crowdfunding events in the industry, EquityNet is delighted to speak at the 2014 Crowdfund Global Expo and offer valuable insights from its operation of an industry-leading crowdfunding platform.” Says Judd Hollas, founder and CEO of EquityNet one of the leading Crowdfund platforms. 

Media sponsors for the Crowdfund Global Expo include: Crowdfund Insider, Crowd Café, Crowdfund Weekly News, SoHo Loft, and more.

For a complete list of speakers, sponsors and the program, please visit out website. Registration and Exhibit Spaces are filling quickly and discounts apply for two more weeks. Don’t miss the Crowdfund Global Expo where you can get all the information and network with the highest-level executives all under one roof in two Days!

About Coastal Communications:

Coastal Communications, Inc. operates as an International full service media company providing face-to-face, multi-functional networking events and tradeshows. By developing high-level events, publications and online community development, Coastal Communications is the primary resource in digital media as well as finance and investment. Our dynamic and entrepreneurial networking events include Crowdfund Global Expo – the #1 professionals crowdfunding event. The AppShow – quickly becoming the largest Digital Media and Mobile App show worldwide, AppShow and CONNECT – The Funding, Discovery and Monetization Conference, Professional Women Entrepreneur Events, Real Estate Crowdfunding Conference Series and a number of other shows and publications including crowdfund weekly news. Our goal is to connect companies and provide foundational informational events.Visit www.coastalshows.com or call 877-936-2788

Social Media Profiles:

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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.

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