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William Calarese 917-319-9412

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Social Venture Partners Announces Winners in Inaugural Fast Pitch Competition

$175,000 Awarded before Standing Room Only Audience

October 4, 2011--SEATTLE –Social Venture Partners (SVP) today announced the winners of its first annual Seattle Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP) competition.  14 finalists gave five-minute pitch presentations to a panel of distinguished judges and a live audience of 650 participants at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion last evening, aiming to be selected as the region’s most innovative non-profit or social for-profit ventures.  Details are available at:  http://sifp.net/

Five non-profit winners, two for-profit winners and four youth category winners were chosen from an extensive field of candidates who were whittled down to 14 finalists through several rounds of competition that began in August.  

Non-profit winners each earned part of a $100,000 grant fund.  Two for-profit winners shared $75,000 in investments from a separate social investment fund.  Also, the audience selected the “most innovative” and the “best fast pitch” winners through text messaging, awarding $5000 for each in additional prizes.

Award Winners

Non-profit:  The top non-profit prize was awarded to Viva Farms, which received the “Social Venture Partners Award” of $30,000.  Next in the non-profit category was Dynamic Labs, which received the “ZINO Society Award” of $20,000.  Following in the non-profit category was Jolkona which received the “Social Endeavors Award” of $15,000.  The next non-profit award was earned by Flash Volunteer, which won the “Microsoft Award” of $10,000.  The final non-profit award was presented to Village, which won the “Intelius Award” of $5000.

Youth Teams:  Reach Out won the university category “Ashoka Youth Venture Award” of $5000.  Biodiesel Cooperative won the “University Fast Pitch Award” of $2000.  In the high school category, SIFF:  Sharing Interests Forming Friendships won the “Winshuttle Award” of $2000. Also, Money Sense earned the “High School Fast Pitch Award” of $1000.

For-profit:  Food N’ Me was selected to receive a $50,000 investment and FindProz.com was chosen to receive a $25,000 investment from the SIFP Seattle Fund.

Additionally, the live competition audience selected both the “Most Innovative” and the “Best Fast Pitch” presentations of the evening, awarding $5000 for each accomplishment.  Viva Farms was the double winner, taking home both audience awards.  

More information about each winner and the awards can be found at http://sifp.net/.

“It’s an honor for Viva Farms to earn this recognition through the Social Innovation Fast Pitch Program,” said Ethan Schaffer, co-founder of Viva Farms. “The funding through this competition is enormously helpful to us, but the support, learning, community and connections are especially valuable.  And we are particularly grateful to see our community support the future of local agriculture.”

"Food N’ Me™ was in great company throughout the Social Innovation Fast Pitch Program contest, with strong competitors and committed mentors and judges," said Frederic De Wulf, co-founder of Food N' Me™.   "We are invigorated to have earned the trust of new investors.  The Social Innovation Fast Pitch Program is more than a contest, it is an opportunity for Food N' Me to receive invaluable mentorship, expand our network of supporters and meet investors in our mission to fight childhood obesity."

2012 Competition

Social Venture Partners concluded the inaugural evening by announcing that next year’s competition will take place on October 18, 2012 at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, in close cooperation with Seattle Center Next 50’s civic engagement month.

“We had tremendous community participation in Seattle’s first social innovation fast pitch event,” said Will Poole, SVP Lead Partner and Social Innovation Fast Pitch organizer.  “We look forward to making this inaugural event into a Seattle tradition for many years to come.”

“We took an unconventional approach: bringing non-profit, for-profit, and youth teams together in the same event.  That integration really paid off by enabling all the groups to learn from the other.  SIFP innovators told us without hesitation that the most valuable aspect of the program has been the connections made with community, which will help them more rapidly build sustainable ventures going forward.” Poole continued.

Social Innovation Fast Pitch (SIFP) is a program of Social Venture Partners Seattle, with the goal of increasing the speed and sustainability of social innovation in the Puget Sound region.  Learn more about SIFP at http://sifp.net or about Social Venture Partners at http://svpseattle.org/.   SIFP 2011 was “powered” by ZINO society.   Learn more about ZINO at http://www.zinosociety.com/.

SIFP Seattle 2011 is made possible by generous contributions from founding donors including Ashoka Seattle, Bezos Family Foundation, Bill and Paula Clapp, the Microsoft Alumni Foundation and Social Venture Partners.  Corporate sponsors include Aditi Technologies, Cascadia Capital, Coinstar, Davis Wright Tremaine, Duotone Audio, Fenwick and West, Goldman Sachs, Intelius, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Seattle Center’s Next 50, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Winshuttle.

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