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Last year I had the opportunity to participate as a judge and mentor in the inaugural competition, MassChallenge. This is a serious business competition that has shown it can attract top quality concrete job creating ideas from round the world. Over 450 entries applied and 110 finalists were incubated for 3 months including free office space, introductions to VC, funders, customers and team resources. Sixteen finalists split $1 Million including $100,000 for the top finisher. Seeding Labs, profiled elsewhere on my blog, won $50,000 as the Social Impact finalist and also was offered free office space for another nine months.
If you have a venture and are looking to make it to the next level I strongly encourage you to apply to the 2011 accelerator. If you have any questions please reach out to the organizers at email@example.com or apply online at www.masschallenge.org/enter. Continue reading →
Posted in mobile technology, Social Business, Social Ecosystem, Social Entrepreneur, social Innovation, Startup, Venture Capital, venture philanthropy
Tagged Barack Obama, Boston, business ideas, business plan competition, entrepreneurship, innovation, Massachusetts, MassChallenge, Social Business, Social Entrepreneur, social entrepreneurship, Social Impact, social Innovation, startup, Sustainable ventures
Yesterday MassChallenge, the year long business competition, announced the winners of the grand prizes. With over $1 Million in prizes, this has drawn international attention as one of the largest business plan competitions. Starting with a pool of over 450 applicants, the judges winnowed it down to a final list of 111 selected companies that were provided free space for three months and mentoring to help them refine their business ideas and pitches. 26 teams were chosen from these finalists to the final round to make their pitch to a world renowned panel of judges.
The competition was fierce as this was not some college level biz plan competition. Several companies were startups by veteran entrepreneurs. Progressive thinking MassChallenge also included a category for enterprises with significant Social Impact.
Last night Seeding Labs learned that they were the winners of the $50,000 prize for their entry in the social impact category. Seeding Labs mission is to support and expand scientific research in developing countries by providing affordable reclaimed laboratory equipment and facilitating connections within the global scientific research community. Their simple focused approach won over the judges. Seeding Labs has been on a tear having recently been invited to the TED Global conference as a TED Fellow; was awarded the Young Professional Award by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network; and have been named a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow.
Seeding Labs is one of the featured speakers in the Technology Track for ForSE 2010: Forum for Social Entrepreneurs to be held on Saturday, October 30 at Northeastern University. For information and to register for ForSE 2010: http://www.forumse.org
Posted in Conference, Social Ecosystem, Social Entrepreneur, social Innovation
Tagged Boston, Business plan, Conference, ForSE 2010, Massachusetts, MassChallenge, Seeding Labs, Social Entrepreneur, social entrepreneurship, social Innovation
To help jumpstart job growth in Massachusetts, a unique public/private partnership, Masschallenge.org, was launched earlier this year. By unveiling what it claims is the world’s largest business plan competition; the folks at MassChallenge are hoping to attract hundreds if not thousands of interested entrepreneurs. While most business plan competitions have been university based in the past, MassChallenge intends to go mainstream with entries accepted from all quarters. With the intent of raising serious money – a target of $25 Million for the first year – it hopes to change the way plans are run by providing the winning teams with $1 million in seed funding. It hopes to run six parallel competitions in the following areas:
- Healthcare, and Life Sciences
- IT, Software, and Gaming
- Clean Technology and Energy
- Social Development and Non-profit
- Open Category, Seed Stage
- Open Category, Expansion Stage
The one on Social Development and Non-profit caught my eye as it is along the lines of what we have been discussing on this blog. As I had said in some of my earlier posts, early stage social innovators sorely need a jumpstart as they face a tougher time raising funds than a for-profit. More importantly, Massachusetts has grown to be a focal point for social innovation attracting the best and brightest to the exciting programs offered in all the leading universities. Coupled with the incentives from MassChallenge and the Massachusetts Government, we have the opportunity to create a new growth cluster in the state. We have an opportunity to retain the top talent attracted to the programs in the area and to channel them to building the next generation of innovative social enterprises here in Boston.
I recently wrote a more detailed article for the MassChallenge.org blog that outlines this and am excerpting it below. Continue reading →
Posted in Investment, non-profit, Philanthropy, Social Business, Social Ecosystem, Social Entrepreneur, social Innovation, sustainable development, Venture Capital, venture philanthropy
Tagged Boston, business plan competition, ecosystem, Massachusetts, MassChallenge, Masschallenge.org, non-profit, Philanthropy, Social Business, Social Ecosystem, social entrepreneurship, Social Impact, social Innovation, Social Investment, Sustainable ventures, venture philanthropy