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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.

First GREEN Bank Recognized as Certified B Corporation by B Lab

Values-based bank honored for exceeding rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency

Press Release – Orlando, Fla. – March 28, 2017First GREEN Bank, a local bank with a global mission, announces today its recognition as a Certified B Corporation by B Lab, a nonprofit organization that supports a global movement of people using business as a force for good. This prestigious certification is a verified benchmark for companies supporting positive global impact through responsible professional practices. First GREEN Bank is one of 15 Certified B Corporation companies in Florida and is now helping lead the movement for other companies to become certified nationwide.

“This accreditation serves as a testament to First GREEN Bank’s ability to be successful and generate profit through a values-based business approach, proving that companies can benefit without compromising ethical standard,” said Ken LaRoe, founder of First GREEN Bank. “The environmental and social mission of First GREEN Bank was greatly influenced by the book “Let My People Go Surfing,” written by the renown environmentalist and founder of Patagonia. It is a great milestone in our company’s history to receive B Lab recognition for turning a simple inspiration into a business that successfully embraces holistic practices.”

Each of First GREEN Bank’s seven locations is considered a “values center” for its strong commitment to advance positive change in the banking sector. Buildings are built or renovated to meet the highest level of sustainability possible, and each location offers customers discounts on solar energy loans. For the community, the bank lends in excess of $422 million to local Florida businesses and citizens, and hosts an annual Art of Medicine Gala to benefit those affected by brain injuries. The bank also has some of the best benefits of any company, including a Living Wage Program that ensures employees earn a wage of at least $32,000, and a Parental Leave Policy to give both mothers and fathers additional time to bond with their newborn.

“We are extremely honored to join the more than 1,000 other Certified B Corporation companies across America that are working together to make the world a better place,” said Keith Costello, CEO of First GREEN Bank. “We hope to redefine standards and build an enterprise that is without ethical compromise through our continued efforts in sustainable energy, employee benefits, charity donations and community involvement.”

To learn more about First GREEN Bank, visit www.firstgreenbank.com. For more information on B Lab, Certified B Corporations and to view First GREEN Bank’s B Lab evaluation score card, visit www.bcorporation.net.

About First GREEN Bank

Since its opening in 2009, First GREEN Bank has led an impactful and successful charge to prove there is a better way to do business — one that is financially, environmentally and socially responsible. Committed to incorporating a strong sense of social responsibility into its business, founder Ken LaRoe and CEO Keith Costello are one of the only two leaders and friends in the banking industry to promote environmentally responsible behavior through its own business and employees. LaRoe and Costello coincidentally received the last and second to last bank charters in the state of Florida and, together, plan to use that certification to promote their global mission.

Headquartered in Orlando, with additional locations in Mount Dora, Clermont, Ormond Beach, Winter Park, Fort Lauderdale, and, most recently, Altamonte Springs, First GREEN Bank offers personal and commercial banking services.

To find out more about First GREEN Bank, visit www.firstgreenbank.com.

About B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies will compete to be best for the world and that society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity. B Lab drives this systemic change by: (1) building a global community of Certified B Corporations; (2) promoting Mission Alignment using innovative corporate structures like the benefit corporation to align the interests of business with those of society; (3) helping tens of thousands of businesses, investors and institutions Measure What Matters, by using the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics to manage their impact — and the impact of the businesses with which they work — with as much rigor as their profits; and (4) inspiring millions to join the movement through compelling storytelling by its multi-platform branded media company B the Change Media.

For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.

NN Investment Partners Enhances ESG Integration Edge By Adding Extensive Environmental Insights

Press Release – The Hague, Netherlands, and Zurich, Switzerland, 28 March, 2017 – NN Investment Partners (NN IP) ensures that investment decisions are based on the best available information on carbon, waste and water by partnering with the leading service provider in the market, South Pole Group. This pioneering step allows NN IP to gain accurate insights across all asset classes into the emissions intensity of companies and to meet the most detailed information requirements posed by clients.

Climate change and an overexploitation of natural resources are likely to have an impact on companies around the world. Companies that are able to use resources efficiently are less likely to experience negative shocks due to resource scarcity, and are more likely to outperform inefficient peers in the event of new government legislation. By tailoring South Pole Group’s portfolio screening tool to NN IP’s specific requirements, NN IP is now better able to identify these companies and related risks and opportunities.

Jeroen Bos, Head of Equity Specialties at NN Investment Partners, commented: “We have a fiduciary duty towards our clients to invest in our client’s best interests. Sound investment decisions start with having the right information. The solution provided by South Pole Group provides an important add-on to the other ESG information on companies and countries that we have from other partners, brokers and proprietary internal research. Moreover, this tool allows us to further enhance the quality of our investment decisions as it provides wide-spread coverage of companies on Scope 1, 2 and 3* emissions as well as other environmental data such as water and waste.”

NN IP is committed to investing responsibly and meeting clients’ growing demand for products that generate solid financial returns while minimising social and environmental risks. NN IP’s ongoing goal is to have more comprehensive insight into the risks and opportunities that the companies and countries that they invest in are facing. To fully understand how resource-intensive companies and countries are, the most comprehensive carbon emissions data is required.

Alex Zuiderwijk, Senior Portfolio Manager Sustainable Investments, at NN Investment Partners commented: “By adding this environmental screening tool to our investment process, we are able to gain a complete overview of our investments’ carbon emissions across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 – beyond the current market standard scope of 1 and 2. The availability of reliable data on water and waste allows us to enrich our environmental risk framework to account for additional natural capital indicators. Also, we are better able to provide on-demand ESG-reporting to our clients and to meet current and future information needs.”

“Understanding the carbon and climate exposure of portfolios is slowly becoming a housekeeping item within the financial industry, but the true leaders will be the ones who build their actions on the most reliable, comprehensive carbon and environmental data,” emphasises Maximilian Horster, Partner, Financial Industry, South Pole Group.

Global Sustainable Investment Alliance Releases Biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016

Media Web Conference Scheduled for March 27 at 11:00 a.m. ET  

Highlights

  • At the start of 2016, global sustainable, responsible and impact (SRI) investment assets reached $22.89 trillion, a 25% increase from 2014.
  • Europe accounts for over half of these assets (53%), while the United States accounts for 38%.
  • In nearly every market represented in the report, sustainable investing has grown in both absolute and relative terms since the beginning of 2014.
  • The largest sustainable investment strategy globally is negative/exclusionary screening, affecting $15.02 trillion in assets, followed by ESG integration, applied to $10.37 trillion in assets.
  • Growing global concern over climate change has resulted in rising interest in green finance, including climate-aligned bonds.
  • Fiduciary duty and client demand are key growth drivers for sustainable investing.

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2017 – Today the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) released its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016, showing that global sustainable investment assets reached $22.89 trillion at the start of 2016, a 25% increase from 2014.

The Global Sustainable Investment Review brings together the results from regional market studies by the sustainable investment forums from Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand. Market information on Japan was provided by JSIF—Japan Sustainable Investment Forum; data on Asia ex Japan was provided by the Principles for Responsible Investment. GSIA leaders Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif: The European Sustainable Investment Forum; Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; Meg Voorhes, Research Director at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; and Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), will host a media web conference on Monday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss report findings.

In nearly every market represented in the report, sustainable investing grew in both absolute and relative terms since the beginning of 2014. Europe accounts for over half the global SRI assets (53%), and the United States for 38%. The fastest growing region is Japan—due in part to an expanded survey that provided information for the first time on the sustainable investing activities of numerous institutional asset owners—followed by Australia/New Zealand.

The largest sustainable investment strategy globally is negative/exclusionary screening ($15.02 trillion), followed by ESG integration ($10.37 trillion) and corporate engagement/shareholder action ($8.37 trillion). Negative screening is the largest strategy in Europe, while ESG integration leads in the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Asia ex Japan. Japan’s primary sustainable investment strategy is corporate engagement and shareholder action.The fastest growing strategy, although also the smallest in absolute dollar terms, was impact/community investing.

Several GSIA members reported that the consideration of fiduciary duty was an important driver for sustainable investing, along with client demand.

While institutional investors still dominate the SRI market, with pension funds often comprising the largest percentage of institutional SRI assets, interest by retail investors is growing. The relative proportion of retail SRI investments in Canada, Europe and the United States increased from 13% in 2014 to 26% at the start of 2016. Over a third of SRI assets in the United States were retail.

Growing global concern over climate change has resulted in rising interest in green finance, including climate-aligned bonds. In fact, the growing interest in green bonds over the last two years has shifted the average SRI asset allocation. In 2016 in Canada and Europe, most SRI assets were in bonds (64%) followed by equities (33%). This is a flip from 2014 when 50% of assets were in equities and only 40% in bonds. China is another important contributor to the rise in green bonds as China is now the world’s largest issuer of climate-aligned bonds, with $220 billion in issuances according to the Climate Bonds Initiative.

To download the full report please visit www.gsi-alliance.org.

About the Global Sustainable Investment Review

Now in its third edition, the biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review is the only report presenting results from Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. The report draws on in-depth regional and national reports from GSIA members—Eurosif, Responsible Investment Association Australasia, RIA Canada and US SIF—as well as data and insights from the Principles for Responsible Investment, JSIF (Japan), LatinSIF and the African Investing for Impact Barometer. Together, these resources provide data points, insights, analysis and examples of the shape of sustainable investing worldwide.

The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016 was made possible through the generosity of the report sponsor, Bloomberg.

About The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) is a collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organizations around the world. It includes US SIF, UK SIF, Eurosif, RIA Canada, VBDO (Netherlands) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). The GSIA’s mission is to deepen and expand the practice of sustainable, responsible and impact investing through intentional international collaboration. Our vision is a world where sustainable investment is integrated into financial systems and the investment chain and where all regions of the world have coverage by vigorous membership based institutions that represent and advance the sustainable investment community. www.gsi-alliance.org

Amsterdam-based Tony’s Chocolonely Brings Mission of 100 Percent Slave-Free Chocolate to the U.S.

Tony’s Chocolonely now available for purchase throughout the U.S.

Press Release – Portland, Ore. (March 2017) Tony’s Chocolonely, a B-Corp certified chocolate maker that grew to be the largest Dutch chocolate company in less than 10 years, made a big entry into the U.S. with the launch of their chocolate in Portland, Ore. last fall. Today, the colorfully wrapped chocolate bars are available for purchase throughout the U.S. via the company’s website (uswebshop.tonyschocolonely.com) and numerous retailers. The chunky six-ounce bars six are unequally divided to illustrate the inequality in the chocolate industry. Right now, slaves are working on cocoa farms in West Africa, many of them children. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change that. Their mission is to change the industry by making 100 percent slave-free the norm in chocolate.

Tony’s Chocolonely was founded in 2005 by Dutch journalist Teun van de Keuken (‘Tony’) when he discovered the world’s largest chocolate companies were buying cocoa from plantations that used child slavery. According to recent study by Tulane University, more than 2 million children were found in hazardous working conditions in the cocoa production industry in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. After learning these facts, van de Keuken ate 12 chocolate bars and turned himself in to the police as a ‘chocolate criminal,’ citing that he had purchased an illegally manufactured product. When the trial didn’t result in his conviction, he decided to start a chocolate company, Tony’s Chocolonely, a company dedicated to creating a 100 percent slave-free chocolate industry.

Tony’s Chocolonely shows that chocolate can be made differently. Through direct, long-term relationships with cocoa farmers and other supply chain partners, the company has created a completely transparent and traceable bean-to-bar process. They agree on better prices for the farmers and provide business and agricultural training, to increase productivity on their farms. Furthermore, one percent of Tony’s Chocolonely net revenue is donated to its Chocolonely Foundation, supporting projects to eradicate slavery in the cocoa chain.

“‘We lead by example and want to show other chocolate makers that it is possible to be commercially successful without exploitation and slavery,” said Tony’s Chocolonely Chief Chocolate Officer Henk Jan Beltman. “Our successful launch in Portland was a big step in that direction as we follow our roadmap towards a 100 percent slave-free chocolate industry. The U.S. chocolate market is home to some of the largest chocolate makers in the world. Our role is to inspire both consumers and chocolate companies to take responsibility. The more people choose slave-free and share our story, the sooner 100 percent slave-free becomes the norm in chocolate.”

Tony’s Chocolonely’s unequally divided six-ounce chocolate bars are available on retail shelves and online at uswebshop.tonyschocolonely.com. Current selections include:

  • Milk Chocolate (32 percent cocoa)
  • Milk Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt (32 percent cocoa)
  • Dark Chocolate (70 percent cocoa)
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt (51 percent cocoa)
  • Dark Chocolate Coffee Crunch (51 percent cocoa)
  • Dark Chocolate Pecan Coconut ((51 percent cocoa)

The Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt and Milk Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt are also available in smaller 1.8-ounce bars. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the big bars is $4.99 and $1.99 for the small bars. Tony’s Chocolonely hopes U.S. chocolate lovers will share its chocolate and its story helping to make 100 percent slave-free the norm in chocolate.

About Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely is an Amsterdam based chocolate company committed to bringing an end to slavery in the chocolate industry. When journalist Teun van Keuken (“Tony”) discovered the world’s largest chocolate companies were buying chocolate from cocoa plantations that used child slavery, he turned himself into the police as a “chocolate criminal” who purchased an illegally manufactured product. Tony’s Chocolonely has since dedicated its efforts to educating people about the inequality in the chocolate industry, as well as creating its own chocolate bar as an example of the reality of slave free chocolate. Employing an industry scalable process, Tony’s works with the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Barry Callebaut, to create traceable bean-to-bar offerings. As part of the company’s bean-to-bar concept, Tony’s has built direct, long-term relationships with the farmers who grow its cocoa to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery. As the company continues in its mission to create change, it recently expanded to the US. For more information, please visit: http://www.tonyschocolonely.com/us/.

Launch of Alto, America’s First Advantage Club for People with Disabilities

Alto provides unprecedented buying power to 57 million Americans with disabilities

Press Release – Palo Alto and Tel Aviv, Israel, [23 March 2017]Alto, America’s first advantage club for people with disabilities and their families, announces its launch today. Alto is designed to be the essential consumer destination for the 57 million Americans living with disability. It offers exclusive savings on the products and services that people with disabilities need and want to improve their quality of life.

The launch includes more than 1,000 aggregated exclusive savings and benefits on everything from mobility products to daily living, insurance and travel. Members of the Alto Advantage Club will be able to find and buy products with greater ease than ever before and save hundreds of dollars a year.

‘It is incredible that until now this powerful consumer group has been largely ignored by countless retailers. Finding the appropriate resources for people with disabilities is often emotionally draining and time consuming for people and their families. It is so refreshing to see a business endeavor that is catering to this market by curating and centralizing the very best products at competitive prices to help people living with disabilities in every aspect of their lives’ David Small Executive Director, Variety – the Children’s Charity.

Alto is a recent graduate of NFX. It was developed by the founders of global empowerment site and online community, Yoocan , which launched last year after graduating from the Microsoft Accelerator program. Its founders have been chosen to present their vision at the prestigious Impact Network convention for social technologies impacting change in the world on March 30th in Paris.

“We are determined to unify and empower this consumer group in the same way that advantage clubs like AARP for seniors and veterans’ clubs like USAA deliver benefits and savings worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars to their communities,” said Moshe Gaon, CEO of Alto. “It is personal for me, as my family has experienced the very challenges we seek to overcome with Alto and we are striving to develop something that will provide benefits and advantages for families with disabilities like never before.”

Alto is the creation of brothers Moshe and Yoav Gaon and Dror Kalisky. When Yoav’s son Erez was born with a rare disease and complex disabilities the family experienced immense frustration and emotional stress. They sought solutions that would allow their child and family to do basic things like cycle, travel or find an accessible restaurant. They realized how much potential technology and help there was available around the world but how scattered it was, how hard to find or buy.

They began to research and engage with organizations for people with disabilities and reach out to community members around the world. Then they launched yoocan, the global empowerment site for people with disabilities and their families to share stories, educate and motivate each other to do anything.

From here emerged the great demand for a vertical membership club that could aggregate and bring benefits and savings to this huge community.

Alto aims to source and offer the very best, cutting edge products and technology for 57 million Americans with disabilities who have thus far been entirely overlooked as an important consumer group.

About Alto

Alto is America’s first advantage club for people with disabilities and their families. It offers its members the very best value on the products they need to maximize their quality of life with benefits and savings worth hundreds of dollars a year. Alto empowers the 57 million Americans living with disabilities and their families, who have until now been overlooked as an important consumer group, to find the best products at the fairest prices.

Big Path Capital Announces 8th Annual Impact Capitalism Summit: The Largest Gathering of Family Offices and Institutional Investors Focused on Impact

More than 300 attendees expected to discuss the role of capital markets in creating an economy that works for all

Press Release – CHICAGO – March 23, 2017 – Heralded as the “Davos of Impact Investing,” Big Path Capital, a boutique financial services firm focused on impact, today announces its 8th annual Impact Capitalism Summit (ICS). This year’s Summit will take place on April 25-26, 2017 at the Union League Club in Chicago. ICS is the largest global convening of investors and thought leaders focused on maximizing impact and return across asset classes. Attendees represent over $1 trillion in AUM and include an exclusive group of family offices who are credited with having paved the way for impact investing. Attendees also represent large institutional investors, wealth advisors, academicians, economists and asset managers who are focused on deploying capital for impact and return.

This year’s Summit theme will focus on the role of capital markets in creating an economy where opportunity and prosperity are widely shared. It will explore a simple and powerful premise: Stakeholders who have a hand in creating value should share in its successful outcomes.

The Summit focuses on how institutional investors can realize competitive returns and impact across asset classes including private equity, public equites and direct investments. One of the private equity panels, which includes leaders from Cambridge Associates, Ascension Investment Management, and Stafford Capital Partners, will explore upcoming trends in the impact sector. The full list of speakers and sessions can be found here.

The purpose of the Summit is educational and no securities will be offered, purchased or marketed nor will any services such as financial advisory, legal, or accounting be offered.

Partners Sponsors and supporters of this year’s summit include the MacArthur Foundation, TONIIC, Family Office Exchange, ImpactAlpha, UNPRI, Tiger 21, and Gratitude Railroad.

“We believe that the Impact Capitalism Summit is unlike any event in the industry. The exclusivity of the event is designed to foster an environment of peer-to-peer learning, rather than the “pitch” focused element of a traditional trade show,” said Michael Whelchel, Big Path Capital Co-Founder and Partner.

Shawn Lesser, Big Path Capital Co-Founder and Partner, emphasized the curated nature of the event. “It’s a true practitioners’ forum,” he said. “ICS brings together all of the stakeholders who have helped pave the path to the largest investment opportunity and social trend of our era.”

ICS attendees will benefit from being privy to the newest industry study launches, including Big Path Capital’s SmarterMoney+™ Review Volume 7 to be released at the Summit. SmarterMoney+™ series are carefully curated collections of thought leadership reports. Volume 7 will explore how diversity can be a driver of growth. The Advisory Committee on this publication includes Jonas Kron of Trillium Asset Management, Henry McKoy of Fourth Sector, Andrea Armeni of Transform Finance, and Shelley Alpern of Clean Yield.

Attendance of ICS is limited, but is open to impact investors and those allied to the field. Interested parties may apply at attend at Impact-Capitalism.com.

About Big Path Capital

Leveraging one of the largest global networks in Impact Investing, Big Path Capital services include assisting impact companies and funds to ensure mission preservation across financial transactions, including acquisitions, mergers, and capital raises. We see Impact Investing as SmarterMoney+ i.e. the dual objective of achieving Maximum Return and Maximum Impact. Big Path initiatives also include the Five Fund Forum, Impact & Sustainable Trade Missions, Big Path Impact Academy, and the Train Stop Tour.

Disclaimer: Investment banking services are provided by Intellivest Securities, Inc. a member of FINRA and SIPC. The presentations given by fund managers, issuers or others at the Summit do not constitute an offering of securities or solicitation of offers. Such an offer may only be made in compliance with disclosure and delivery requirements under applicable, securities laws and will be limited to prescribed categories of investors. Attendance is limited to Accredited Investors and Qualified Purchasers as defined under Federal securities laws. Some presenters may pay a fee for participating. Attendees are responsible for their own due diligence if they enter into a relationship of any kind with any entity or person met at the Summit.

Leonhardt’s Launchpads Expands Patent Estate with Option to Exclusive License Agreement With Caltech

Press Release – March 22nd, 2017 – Santa Monica, CA, Pasadena, CA, Salt Lake City, Utah.–(PRBUZZ)— Leonhardt’s Launchpads, a Santa Monica, California and Salt Lake City, Utah based innovation accelerator focused on organ regeneration and recovery technologies announced today that it has significantly expanded its patent portfolio. Leonhardt’s Launchpads via this agreement obtained an option leading to an exclusive license to a series of patents and patents pending held by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California in the field of wireless powered and minitature stent based circulatory assist pumps.

“The Caltech estate of patents combined with our own patent portfolio provides Leonhardt’s Launchpads, and our incubating startup Second Heart Assist, Inc., with a pathway to very strong patent protection in the wireless powered and stent based circulatory assist pump market. These patents serve as an important foundation for us as we continue to grow the business and develop our product pipeline” states Jeff Donofrio, President of Second Heart Assist, Inc.

The patent estate option exclusively licensed from Caltech includes these pioneering patents as well as many more other continuations in part and additional patent claims pending:

Leonhardt’s Launchpads has in-turn exclusively licensed this option and patents in exchange for 9% seed stage equity and $50,000 cash (to be paid in increments) to Second Heart Assist, Inc. (Second Heart) a Utah C corporation incubating in Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah, Inc. innovation and startup accelerator in Salt Lake City as well as its Santa Monica based accelerator. The Caltech exclusive option licensed patents cover technologies designed to develop a wireless powered circulatory assist pump placed within the aorta of a patient. The patent claims cover a product designed to reduce risk of hemolysis, thrombosis, mechanical breakdown and infection associated with previously developed circulatory assist devices as well as easing placement. Second Heart intends to apply this to the treatment of heart failure, reducing risk in high risk PCI, cardiogenic shock recovery, kidney protection and limb salvage. One of the primary expected uses of the product is to elminate excess fluid buildup from patients suffering of heart failure more quickly than other alternatives. The Second Heart team has aspirations to bring to market the first wireless powered circulatory assist pump that has the option for both continuous and pulsatile flow. The Leonhardt led team has developed a wirelesss harmonic vibration technology which it hopes to prove out in studies to reduce risk associated with thrombosis (blood clotting), often a problem with previous chronic long term use circulatory assist devices.

Second Heart Assist, Inc. also plans to develop this technology to be supportive to heart regeneration working in partnership with BioLeonhardt www.bioleonhardt.com another early stage Leonhardt’s Launchpads startup that has developed a bioelectric stimulator (controls release of up to 13 regeneration promoting proteins) + re-fillable micro infusion pump + fifteen component heart regeneration stem cell/growth factor composition designed to regenerate hearts. This technology is currently under evaluation in pre-clinical studies at the University of Utah. The thought of combining the two technologies is that a heart may be easier to regenerate if its workload is reduced by a circulatory assist device and perfusion is improved.

“The Caltech patents provide us with pioneering technologies to potentially reduce hemolysis, thrombosis, infection and mechanical breakdowns found in other circulatory assist pumps. This is an exciting development for our organization.” states Howard J. Leonhardt, Founder, Executive Chairman & CEO of Leonhardt’s Launchpads and Second Heart Assist, Inc.

This option license leading to an exclusive patent license includes a provision for collaborative research between the Leonhardt led Second Heart team and Dr. Morteza Gharib’s (primary inventor of the series of patents) lab at Caltech. This Caltech Gharib lab has already built and tested a number of prototypes and has published some supporting data. The two research teams will work together to advance the technology to clinic.

About Leonhardt’s Launchpads:

Leonhardt’s Launchpads is an innovation accelerator focused on organ regeneration and recovery technologies with operations in California and Utah. Leonhardt’s Launchpads was formed by Leonhardt Ventures in 2008 in Northern California, opened up in Southern California in 2013 and in Utah in 2015. They currently are incubating 30 startups. Leonhardt Ventures was founded in 1982 (originally HJ Leonhardt & Co.). In the 1980’s the Leonhardt team led in patented cardiovascular balloon catheter development, in 1990’s stent grafts and percutaneous heart valves, since 2000 the focus has been on organ regeneration and recovery. Howard Leonhardt their founder has over 21 issued U.S. patents and a dozen more pending.

About Second Heart Assist, Inc:

Second Heart Assist, Inc. was formed in 2016 and incorporated in Utah as a C corporation in 2017. It is focused on developing circulatory assist devices with the primary application of helping heart failure patients recover – http://leonhardtventures.com/second-heart/

Caution: This product has not yet been tested in clinical trials and is not yet proven to be safe or effective. This is an early stage unproven development.

Video animation of one model of circulatory assist pump within stent being developed by Second Heart Assist, Inc. team – https://vimeo.com/183574529

Leonhardt Stent Pump from Calx Stars Business Accelerator on Vimeo.

Impact Fund Managers from Africa and South America Join Capria Network

With nine managers on four continents, Capria Network is now the leading global network of impact fund managers

News Summary

  • Four fund managers have joined Capria Network after completing a 7-week “Intensive”
  • Capria Network now the leading global network of impact fund managers
  • Managers received investment commitments from Capria of ~$2M in aggregate
  • Capria’s 4th investment cycle has opened and is connecting with managers now

Press Release – Seattle, Washington. March 12, 2017. Today Capria announced it has signed agreements to invest in four fund managers who have joined Capria Network, the leading global network of impact fund managers. New Capria Network members join existing managers from Africa, Asia, and Central America and include:

“We’re excited to be increasing the flow of impact capital in emerging markets, expanding our engagement in Africa, and adding South America as a new key region for the Capria Network.” said Will Poole, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Capria. “The missing middle finance opportunity exists in all of markets where Capria Network fund managers are investing. High-growth businesses in these markets can deliver superior financial results and industry-leading social and/or environmental impact.”

Highly Selective & Collaborative Global Network of Fund Managers

In its most recent investment cycle, Capria connected with over 100 teams from 38 countries, carefully screened 37 teams and ultimately selected 4 who will have the opportunity to leverage extensive advisory and acceleration services in conjunction with gaining access to a growing global network. Experienced managers with deep investing and operational experience as well as first time managers want to join the Capria Network because they have the desire to be best in class, not just in their market, but globally. All teams selected to join Capria’s seven-week “Intensive” become part of the Capria Network and they make a deep commitment to work with one another over a multi-year process as they build their world-class investment firms.

“As experienced fund managers launching our third fund, our plans with Capria were a little different than others,” said Eduardo Grytz, managing partner of Performa Investimentos, a fund manager in Brazil with $75 AUM raising its third impact fund. “After meeting other Capria Network members and working together closely through the intensive program, we can clearly attest to the benefits to our firm of being a member of a global network of leading fund managers.”

“Capria accelerates the development of first-time managers, like us. In regions with a nascent venture capital and private equity industry, only a few established impact funds exist as role models”, said Dmitry Fotiyev, managing partner of Brightmore Capital. “We’re already six months ahead of where we would have been without the engagement of Capria.”

Deploying Capital and Expertise Where It’s Most Needed

In the second half of 2015, Capria announced its bold plans to accelerate the creation of 15 impact funds in emerging markets in the next five years, leading to the deployment of over US $500M into businesses and impacting the lives of more than 5 million individuals. The need for seasoned investment managers who know local markets and can effectively deploy capital and return profits for investors continues to grow; Capria is working to address that need.

To help new and existing managers advance their efforts, Capria has made capital commitments to each of the new managers in the network, in aggregate about $2M for this cycle. Capria provides smart, flexible capital in the form of seed funds for the management company and/or a fund investment. The managers use Capria’s risk capital to invest in their teams and set up their funds quickly. Capria Network funds can also start making initial portfolio investments even before they have received capital from other investors.

“We have been investing in high-growth, small and medium size businesses in South Africa since 2008, but we are always looking for ways to improve and adopt global best practices.” said Janice Johnston, principal at Edge Growth. “We’re excited to work with Capria and the network members to deliver both exceptional financial performance and world-leading social and environmental impact through our portfolio companies.”

“There’s no faster way to heal deep wounds in a country than sustained economic development, but that can’t happen without capital,” said Fernando Cardenas, managing director of Odiseo. “With the peace accord signed, now’s the time for Colombia to embrace rapid development. Joining Capria’s global network of impact fund managers will help us work faster and deliver superior financial returns to our investors.”

Fourth Investment Cycle Now Open

Capria has started its global search for another group of the best impact investment managers in emerging markets to invest in and join the Capria Network. If you are starting a new impact fund and would benefit from the assets and services of Capria and the Capria Network, please introduce yourself. We look for fund managers that can deliver superior financial returns, scalable impact, and contribute to the Capria Network. Please take a look at our selection criteria to determine if Capria is a good fit.

About Capria

Capria Ventures is a global financial services innovator investing in the “missing middle” finance opportunity in emerging markets. Capria manages multiple investment funds, a fund manager advisory and accelerator, and the leading global network of impact fund managers. Capria is focused on delivering superior profits to investors along with social and environmental impact at scale, with a goal of unlocking over USD $500 million in impact capital by 2021 and positively impacting the lives of millions. Capria has offices in Seattle and Bangalore. More at: http://capria.vc and http://usf.vc

Global Sustainable Investment Alliance To Release Biennial 2016 Global Sustainable Investment Review On March 27

Media Web Conference Scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET

Press Release – WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) will release its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016 on Monday, March 27 at 8:00 a.m. ET. GSIA leaders will host a media web conference at 11:00 a.m. ET the same day, featuring:

  • Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif: The European Sustainable Investment Forum
  • Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Meg Voorhes, Research Director at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
  • Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia

Now in its third edition, the biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review collates results from Europe, the United States, Canada, Asia, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand. The report draws on in-depth regional and national reports from GSIA members—Eurosif, Responsible Investment Association Australasia, RIA Canada and US SIF—as well as reports and insights from the Principles for Responsible Investment, Japan SIF, Latin SIF and the African Investing for Impact Barometer. Together, these resources provide data points, insights, analysis and examples of the shape of sustainable investing worldwide.

To register for the media web conference or to be added to the GSIA news release distribution list, please email ussif@lowecom.com.

About The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) is a collaboration of membership-based sustainable investment organizations around the world. It includes US SIF, UK SIF, Eurosif, RIA Canada, VBDO (Netherlands) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). The GSIA’s mission is to deepen the impact and visibility of sustainable investment organizations at the global level. Our vision is a world where sustainable investment is integrated into financial systems and the investment chain and where all regions of the world have coverage by vigorous membership based institutions that represent and advance the sustainable investment community. www.gsi-alliance.org

About US SIF

US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. US SIF produces a highly regarded conference each year. A New Climate for Investing in Impact will be held in Chicago from May 11-12. Learn more at www.ussif.org.

Top 24 Announced in 2017 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge

Competition features the best high school entrepreneurs in the state competing for up to $30,000 in cash and prizes

Press Release – March 17, 2017 – High school entrepreneurs across the state of Utah, ages 14-18, are competing for $30,000 in cash and prizes in the 2017 High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. This week, the competition announced the top 24 teams that will be moving on to the final stage of the competition. This competition is hosted by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Each high school team faced the challenge of identifying a problem and proposing a creative solution.

“This completion has offered an opportunity to so many high school students to get creative and be introduced to entrepreneurship,” said Stephanie Gladwin, the student director of the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge and an international studies student at the University of Utah. “We are so impressed with the quality of the applications. We know that this year’s top 24 business ideas are even more competitive than last year.”

The top teams are competing with ideas ranging from hammocks and potato-chip dispensers to apps and healthcare devices. Find a complete list of the finalists with descriptions below.

These 24 teams will advance to the final round, where they will meet for a final judging event and a public awards ceremony on April 15 at Lassonde Studios on the University of Utah campus. All are invited to the public ceremony on that day at 4 to 6 p.m.

“We’re thrilled about the statewide growth and participation for HSUEC,” said Anne Bastien, a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. “We think this is the tip of the iceberg for high school innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. We can’t wait to host the top teams at the final award ceremony at the University of Utah.”

The High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge is the youth version of the collegiate Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, which offers $100,000 of cash and prizes.

Learn more about the competition at lassonde.utah.edu/hsuec.

High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Season Timeline

  • Monday, Dec. 5, 2016: Submissions open
  • Wednesday, March. 1, 2017: Application submission deadline
  • March 2- 15, 2017: Online judging
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017: Top 24 announced.
  • Saturday, April 15, 2017: Private Judging & Mentoring at the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building from 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. Public Showcase & Awards at the Lassonde Studios from 4-6 p.m.

High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge Top 24 Teams

Here are the top 24 teams in the High School Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. These teams will advance to the final event. They are listed in alphabetical order:

  • 123Hammock by eMBe – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – Aims to revolutionize the hammock industry by providing a hammock that has easily attachable parts.
  • AptiTekk – Bingham High School (South Jordan) – All-in-one business solution makes it easy to book rooms, equipment and more.
  • BacteriaPets – Maser Prep Academy (Orem) – A fun classroom lab designed for elementary school classrooms. Using bacteria, students can create their own “pets,” or bacteria cultures, in a safe environment, while learning about bacteria at the same time.
  • Bird Scare Device – Air Dancer – Beehive Science & Technology Academy (Sandy) – Innovative small, portable and nonpolluting air dancers (ADs) make a positive impact by making air travel safer and saving birds’ lives by scaring them away from airports.
  • CoderKeys – Pine View High School (St. George) – An app to teach kids how to type more efficiently for computer programming – and it’s fun.
  • ColoClean – Rowland Hall (Park City) – ColoClean is an alternative colonoscopy preparation kit. Their mission is to provide an effective, humane, personalized colonoscopy prep kit that keeps prep less burdensome for the patient.
  • DeFlame Wrap – West High School (Salt Lake City) – The wrap will provide support and compression on muscles during exercise. After exercise, the wearer may chill the wrap to ice any inflamed muscle areas.
  • Discount Driver – West High School (Salt Lake City) – An app that tracks phone usage while driving through the use of accelerator and NFC sensors.
  • GovGush – Riverton High School (Riverton) – GovGush is a unified technology platform, via mobile and web engagement app, for the public, political representatives and governments.
  • HeadShot: Concussion Diagnosis – Hillcrest High School (Midvale) – Help athletes know how to better care for and handle their concussions. The technology used measures brain activity of regions of the cortex.
  • Health For All – Park City High School (Park City) – A line of clothing and accessories that integrates a type of subwoofer (tactile transducers or bass shakers) to be used for new-age healing techniques as well as a cutting-edge musical experience.
  • Multi-Use Backpack – Timpview High School (Provo) – A backpack with an inflatable mattress and pump. Allows buyer to be able to sleep more comfortably on the go.
  • My Lunch – Herriman High School (Herriman) – Parents and students can pre-order delicious, wholesome lunches from the My Lunch app and select a nutritious meal with quality fruits and vegetables.
  • PocketFab – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – This is a simple product: a pocket. This pocket will be able to hold your phone and other items in a place of your choice.
  • pRaise the Pringle – Park City High School (Park City) – Created a lift so that as Pringles are removed from the top, the lift pushes new Pringles to the top of the can.
  • Puzzle Panels – Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (Salt Lake City) – Portable solar panels that would eventually be able to be sent to emergency sites and set up very quickly.
  • Self-Image Mirror – Timpview High School (Provo) – What if instead of only providing our reflection, our mirror could let us know that we’re looking good, that our hair is impeccable and our outfit stunning? The Self-Image Mirror will provide this service.
  • Snowboard Dots – American Preparatory Academy (Riverton) – Snowboard Dots makes it impossible for beginner snowboarders to catch their edge. The product is made of hard plastic that prevents the riders downhill edge from touching the snow.
  • Stadium Chair – Skyridge High School (Lehi) – Seats in the stadium that are heated and cooled for when it is cold or hot outside.
  • StraightShot Apparel – Kearns High School (Kearns) – Adaptive apparel/clothing company to provide ease in accessing areas to administer medications by injection, port, feeding tube or other ways.
  • The Curb Climber – Copper Hills High School (West Jordan) – A base that will be built into the bottom of motorized chairs that will use motors and wheels to lift the chair over the curb.
  • The Great Traffic Stop De-escalator – Skyline High School (Millcreek) – A robot that acts as an intermediary between the police officer and the civilian for traffic violation stops.
  • Tiny Homes for the Homeless – Kearns High School (Kearns) – It starts by giving the homeless a place to call home, and a community they care about maintaining. The primary goal is to design and construct tiny homes for those who have no place to go.
  • Valle – Bingham High School (South Jordan) – Valle is a high-end clothing brand for urban and street wear designs.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages the Lassonde Studios, a new $45 million innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at lassonde.utah.edu.

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