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Join, Lead & Pitch Your Heart Away

Rosa E. Mitsumasu Scotti ~ Friday, June 20th, 2014

If you’re a social entrepreneur in the Puget Sound area, this is your chance to pitch.  Over the last 3 years SVP Fast Pitch has granted more than US$ 700,000 in grants and investments to social innovators that successfully pitched their ventures’ impact in our community.  And to most, there’s more value than the money: throughout the program, participants receive mentoring and training to refine their ideas, improve their pitch and build relationships with advisors, donors, investors and partners.

At SVP Fast Pitch, you develop a core skill for advancing a new business or an innovative nonprofit program: articulating clearly and powerfully what you do and why you do it.

SVP Fast Pitch: Social Impact not Tax Status

The idea behind creating this training/competition hybrid in Seattle started with Will Poole, founder of SVP Fast Pitch and Co-Founder of Unitus Seed Fund, “After working for Microsoft and various startups, I decided wanted to spend my time in social impact [and] use my business skills to help organizations of any kind be more successful”, said Poole, “I believe that social impact organizations shouldn’t be identified by their tax status, but rather by their realized impact in the world”.

In this program everyone’s welcome; participating is not only for nonprofits or college graduates. If you’re 16 or older and have a mission that creates positive measurable social impact in the Puget Sound region, for-profit or nonprofit, you can apply!

Here’s the deal: there’s five categories including high school, university, young nonprofit, established nonprofit and for-profit; and according to Will, everyone gets a chance to shine: In high-school and college track, “it’s really passion what makes people stand out, their idea may be far fetched, but if they can show they have the passion and drive to take it somewhere, they’ll still stand out”. For nonprofits, “its about innovation and sustainability: can this idea grow over time and support itself in scale, without indefinite amounts of check writing?” And for businesses, what truly matters is a “really clear articulation of social impact in the Puget Sound region, and a scalable business model that can grow profitably and build in value over time.”

Grants, Investments and Long Lasting Impact

One of these scalable business models is that of Community Sourced Capital (CSC), winner of three of the awards at the 2013 SVP Fast Pitch Seattle, which meant US$ 47,500 in investment and $5,000 in grants.  But most importantly, they’re champions at pitching and conveying their impact: “the [Fast Pitch] video is a great asset for us, we were able to convey our mission in 5 minutes, and that ability is still with us until today” said Casey Dilloway, cofounder of CSC, “the organization has evolved, but we use the pitch in brochures, our website, sometimes word for word. We send a link to the video to introduce ourselves to new clients, it’s a great way to show what we do”.

Will Poole congratulating Casey Dilloway of Community Sourced Capital, the 2013 Fast Pitch winner of three audience choice awards and 2nd place in the for-profit track.
Will Poole (right) congratulating Casey Dilloway of Community Sourced Capital (left), the 2013 Fast Pitch winner of three audience choice awards and 2nd place in the for-profit track.

And like everything else, sometimes it takes a second time to shine: “In 2012 we applied but only made it to the quarter finals, but in 2013 we won the US$142,500 1st place Investment Fund Award for a For-Profit and the US$10,000 Microsoft Award”, said Jay Goyal, cofounder of Actively Learn and two-time participant of SVP Fast Pitch Seattle, “[though] we didn’t win the first time, we were paired with a mentor who’s an Actively Learn friend and advisor till this day”.

The application deadline is July 1stapply now and join nonprofits, for profits, high school and college students in this venture, learn how to convey your passion and leave with a beautifully carved speech of your mission or a chunk of cash for your organization.  No matter what – you’ll learn, make friends and increase and channel your passion for social impact.

Curious about Fast Pitch events? Check out the schedule or mark your calendar for the Fast Pitch Finals on October 28, 2014 at McCaw Hall!

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