SEED20, an annual program to identify, spotlight and support our region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social changes, is back for its fifth year.
The program, an initiative of Social Venture Partners (SVP) Charlotte, selects 20 nonprofit participants to take part in two months of training, coaching, feedback and mentoring. It all leads up to a live pitch competition for 10 finalists.
This year’s live event, known as SEED20 OnStage, will take place Monday, April 11 at Knight Theater.
Early bird tickets are $55 and include heavy apps, meal stations and an open bar (beer and wine). Ticket pricing will increase closer to the event ($70 each) so buy now to lock in the early bird price. Tickets can be purchased online here. Doors to the Bechtler open at 5:30 p.m. and pitches begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. in Knight Theater.
If you’ve never been, I consider SEED20 to be one of the most uplifting events in the city.
I’ve attended SEED20 for the last three years as an audience member, as a participant and finally as a judge last year (and again this year). I always leave feeling a bit inadequate in the face of such passionate leadership but then inspired to go do something about it. And that, according to SEED20 organizers is the whole point, to encourage audience members to take action in their inspiration.
It’s also a welcome change of pace if just need a dose of positivity in what can feel like a very negative world.
“SEED20 is the antidote to the evening news,” said SEED20 sponsor and judge Charlie Elberson of Reemprise Fund. “If the world is getting you down, come to SEED20 and you’ll feel much, much better.”
So what does the event actually look like?
All 20 participants will have a presence at the event but only 10 finalists (see below) will take the stage. The 10 non-presenting semi-finalists will have tables set up for interaction before and after the event. (You’ll be able to catch presenting finalists at their respective tables after the event as well.)
The 10 presenting finalists will get three high-stress minutes to pitch their idea to a live audience, and there’s major money on the line.
Prizes totaling $60,000 will be awarded, including a $20,000 People’s Choice Grand Prize, $12,500 Second Place Prize, $7,500 Third Place Prize, $5,000 Coaches’ Award and $10,000 In-Kind Award for marketing services from Priceless Misc. To celebrate the event’s fifth year (and Wells Fargo’s fifth year as a sponsor), Wells Fargo will award a $5,000 Legacy Alum Award to a past participant.
Enough chatter. Let’s meet SEED20’s 2016 finalists…
Rod Banks – Wells Fargo, Community Development Officer for Western North Carolina
Charlie Elberson – Reemprise Fund, Trustee – Reemprise Fund
Katie Levans – Axios Charlotte, Creative Director and Senior Writer
Manny Ohonme – Samaritan’s Feet International, Founder and President
Joanne Stratton Tate – Charlotte Bilingual Preschool, Head of School
Catch all 20 SEED20 participants at the live event on April 11.
Header image shows SEED20 class of 2015 via Facebook