Social Venture Partners’ Social Innovation Fast Pitch Program Progresses to Quarterfinal Phase

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Aspiring social innovators and entrepreneurs advance to next level of competition.

Social Venture Partners (SVP) today announced that 40 of its original applicants to the Social Innovation Fast Pitch competition (SIFP) have been selected to compete in quarterfinals, taking place on Monday, September 19th at Paccar Hall at the University of Washington.

The quarterfinalists are competing in the categories of non-profit and for-profit ventures, ultimately hoping to win part of $175,000 of funding being distributed to final winners.

The quarterfinalists will be narrowed down to a semifinal group of 20 applicants, who will compete again on Wednesday, September 28th at Fenwick & West, 1191 2nd Avenue, in Seattle. They will be joined by 8 semifinal youth teams from high school and college competing in a separate a youth category.

[Media note: The quarterfinal and semifinal competitions are closed to the public, but are open to credentialed press. Media can obtain access by contacting . ]

The fast-pitch competition culminates in a final showdown of the 10 semifinal winners and 4 youth semifinal winners pitching in a big stage setting at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on October 3rd. Tickets are on sale now at , with 100% of the ticket price donated to the competing social innovators. The audience will vote via text messaging for their favorites, while expert judges and investors decide on the largest cash awards.

According to SVP lead partner and organizer of the SIFP program, Will Poole, the contestants are very strong with broad-ranging innovative ideas that will benefit the Puget Sound region. ”We’ve made hard decisions to whittle the group down to the quarterfinalists.”

All quarterfinalists and youth teams have been matched with volunteer business or non-profit mentors to help them fine tune their presentations for effectiveness in front of non-profit, foundation, venture fund and angel investment leaders.

“We are working hard to train, mentor and lead these outstanding competitors,” said Poole. “They are each impressive social innovators. It will be inspiring to see the best of this group in front of a panel of eminent judges and a participating audience to determine the final distribution of the $175,000 in grants and investments.”

According to SVP Executive Director, Paul Shoemaker, The SIFP program is based on similar successful competitions in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Pittsburgh and Providence. “I think our city has a unique blend of non-profit innovators, entrepreneurs and socially-minded businesses, which is ultimately at the core of this social broad-based innovation trend. As a moderator of the SIFP competition, I’m looking forward to seeing the passion and creative thinking coming from our city’s newest social innovators,” he said.

In addition to Shoemaker as moderator, Poole has tapped experienced individuals to help judge the competition: Steve Arnold, Ph. D. -- Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, George Lucas Educational Foundation; Akhtar Badshah -- Sr. Director Global Community Affairs, Microsoft; Tony Benton -- Director of Community Affairs, Clear Channel Radio, Seattle; Jon Fine -- President and CEO, United Way of King County; Michael Free, Ph. D. OBE -- Vice President and Senior Advisor for Technologies, Global Program Leader, Technology Solutions, PATH; Gillian Muessig -- Founding President, SEOmoz; and Gifford Pinchot III, Ph. D. Co-Founder and President, Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Social Innovation Fast Pitch 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 or about Social Venture Partners at

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, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Pricewaterhouse Coopers; Seattle Center’s Next50, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Winshuttle.

To purchase tickets for the October 3 event, go to 100% of ticket receipts are donated to social innovators competing at the event, and the amount is partly tax deductible. Low-cost tickets are available for students with a current high school or college ID.


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