Make “Social Mission” Your Startup’s Steroid – 5 Must Do’s

tempMake “Social Mission” Your Startup’s Steroid – 5 Must Do’s

You might be a social entrepreneur, without even knowing it.

By Kevin Owyang, Evangelist/Partnerships/Sponsorships, SVP Fast Pitch Seattle

Social Mission is Hot-hot-hot

Social entrepreneurship is hot.   Courses in social entrepreneurship have doubled at top business schools.   And Bill Gates highlighted social entrepreneurs for making bold career decisions that complement his philanthropic efforts.

Social entrepreneurs solve social or environmental challenges.  And, you yourself might be a social entrepreneur and not even know it.  In fact, SVP Fast Pitch Seattle, a competition for social entrepreneurs offering over $200,000 in funding, chose two tech companies as its top winners last year.

Tech Companies Won SVP Fast Pitch Seattle 2012

Consider Scope 5, a software as a service (SaaS) provider and winner of $100,000 in funding from SVP Fast Pitch Seattle 2012.   They provide an accessible web-based solution for sustainability data measurement.    Companies like K2 sports uses Scope 5 to track and manage the environmental impacts of transportation, waste stream, energy, and material usage.

Or look at Corengi, a matchmaking platform and winner of $55,000 in funding from SVP Fast Pitch Seattle 2012.  Corengi connects patients to clinical trials.

Clinical trials are the engine of medical advances that help millions.   Yet trials typically are challenged in finding patients.  Many are delayed and people suffer while waiting for needed new treatments.   With medicine becoming more personalized, finding patients has become ever more challenging as trials implement increasingly stringent criteria.

How You Can Put Your Startup’s Funding on Steroids

This year, SVP Fast Pitch will award over $200,000 in grants and seed funding.   And an audience of up to 1,000 of the area’s leading philanthropists, investors, and business leaders is expected to attend.

So how can you get your seed stage startup on the radar of SVP Fast Pitch Seattle?   Here are five ways.

#1 – Be Clear About Social Impact

Entrepreneurs are passionate about fixing a problem, and if that problem involves helping people, then you’re on the right track.  Ask yourself, does our company have the potential to impact a high-need population in an exceptional way, can we demonstrate that it is measurable, and can we demonstrate how this will scale over time?

#2 – Do Breakthrough Innovation

Entrepreneurs love being first, best, and unique.   But ask yourself, do we have a breakthrough innovation that provides powerful, scalable impact?  Impact means improving the lives of others or the environment.  If you can demonstrate that you’re better than and different from the competition, then you’re on the right track.

#3 – Only Pursue Money Makers

As an entrepreneur, that’s probably a no-brainer for you.   On to #4!

#4 – Show Proof of Concept and Solid Traction

Are you past the idea stage?   If you are, then you’ll have a better chance of winning if you can show why your idea will generate more revenue as you scale.

But even if you can’t, an idea stage venture can benefit from applying to SVP Fast Pitch Seattle.   In the past, ideas have become reality through Fast Pitch’s network, connections, know-how, and resources.

#5 – Market Your Strong Leadership Team

You’ve probably heard this before: investors look for 3 things: i) companies in the space they like, ii) with a credible execution plan, and iii) an outstanding team — not necessarily in that order!  Who you work with matters.  Do you have an exceptional team with the passion and experience to succeed?  And have you articulated why you’re better than the rest?

Still Wondering – Check out Seattle Tech Meetup

Still think social entrepreneurship has nothing to do with you?  Consider this, at the last Seattle Tech Meetup there were several companies on stage who presented their technology that solved social or environmental problems.

PatientStream improves patient service & satisfaction in hospitalsLumiSands creates nano-particles that make LED lighting more affordable and replace rare earth elements that cause environmental degradation.  And finally, technology from SpiralGenetics helps reduce the cost of personalized medicine and facilitates the development of crops more tolerant of climate change.

You too might be a social entrepreneur.  Show SVP Fast Pitch why, and you might access a steroid for your funding!

What Next?

If you think you’re startup scores high on social innovation, then enter SVP Fast Pitch Seattle before July 1, 2013.   Just curious or want more pointers? Then be sure to check-out Jumpstart Workshops on topics like “Building Your Business or Nonprofit and Getting It Funded” on June 5, and “How To Pitch Like A Rockstar: Tips and Tricks for Massive Success” on June 11.  Finally, keep checking the website for more great info sessions and workshops!

Kevin Owyang is Founder of B Jibe.  B Jibe amplifies the voice of Social Entrepreneurs.   B Jibe is the producer and distributor of History Is Undivided Yearning, a short documentary highlighting social entrepreneurs and the importance of Changemakers.