Social entrepreneurs representing 11 start-up companies pitched their business plans that seek to address complex social problems at the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19th at Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre. A panel of esteemed judges selected the first, second, and third place contestants, who will present their businesses at an investor-only symposium in Los Angeles on May 6th to win funding, customers, and business partners.
The event, which was organized by Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, was the second Orange County Social Entrepreneurship Competition, first hosted by Saddleback College in 2014, which awarded $17,500 in cash prizes to the first, second, and third place competitors, and offered coaching services to help all 11 finalists make their final pitches to social investors.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College and moderator of the event, stated, “The showdown was a culmination of over eight months’ effort to identify and support social entrepreneurs who are addressing social, environmental, and educational challenges around the world. Thank you to all of our finalists for their amazing leadership, diligence, professionalism, and devotion to making our world a better place.”
The panel of judges selected the first, second, and third place presentations:
Takachar (Cambridge, MA)
Pioneered process for decentralized processing of agricultural waste into solid fuel.
codeSpark (Pasadena, CA)
codeSpark’s mission is to ignite curiosity about computer science and turn programming into play.
Desolenator (London, UK)
Desolinator produces an affordable, eco-friendly household water purification/desalination device.
The eight additional finalists included:
Colibri (Matagalpa, Nicaragua)
Colibri sells pay-as-you-go solar solutions to low-income, off-grid households.
COMPRA (Los Angeles, CA)
COMPRA is a foods-purchasing cooperative that serves as an alternative food distribution system in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles.
Copilots in Care (Menlo Park, CA)
Copilots facilitates reflection and communication of patients’ medical wishes to their family members and physicians.
East Africa Fruits (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania)
Using a franchising model to sell fresh fruits and vegetables while reducing losses suffered by farmers selling to meddlemen.
Music Lifeboat (Los Angeles, CA)
A music education program that began with a free music education app, BandBlast.
Microfarms (San Diego, CA)
A San Diego based, veteran-owned and operated farm that grows organic produce hydroponically in a solar-powered “FarmBox.”
MUrgency (San Franciso, CA)
A mobile app which connects people who need emergency response with their trusted network. Provides support that is currently unavailable in most developing countries.
Thrive LA (Encino, CA)
Ultra-affordable, off-grid tiny houses and jobs within the community. The first community will focus on returning veterans and homeless veterans. Winner of the Audience Favorite Award.
The panel of judges included:
Iosefa Alofaituli, Regional Director, Opportunity Fund
Douglas K. Freeman, Founder, National Philanthropy Day
Michael Hamilton, Chair, President, Saddleback College Foundation
Andy Horowitz, Entrepeneur and Advisory Board Chair, Chapman University Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Elsa Monte, Senior Vice President of Community Reinvestment and Community Development, Pacific Western Bank
Kyle Scrimgeour, Principal and Managing Member, Core Capital Management, LLC
Donald J. Voska, Chief Financial Officer, Goodwill of Orange County
Lead sponsors of the Southern California Social Entrepreneur Venture Challenge were Saddleback College, the California Community Foundation, and the Annenberg Foundation. Additional sponsors were Pacific Western Bank, Goodwill of Orange County, and the Southern California Slow Money Network.
For more information about social entrepreneurship, visit http://www.academies-se.org/.
Saddleback College will be hosting the 2016 Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge Showdown on Saturday, March 19 in the McKinney Theatre. Watch 14 entrepreneurs, who are blending social purpose and profit, present their ventures to a panel of potential investors.
Session 1 will be held from 9:30 am to noon and session 2 will be held from 1 to 4 pm. Session 2 will include the awards ceremony. General admission tickets are $10, general admission with lunch tickets are $15. Students can attend for free by using promo code SESTUDENT. Free parking will be provided. For more information and tickets, please visit www.socentchallenge.org.
Saddleback College invites all community members to its 16th annual foundation gala on Saturday, March 12th at 6:00 pm at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The gala, which raises funds for student scholarships and college programs, will feature a live and silent auction, dinner, gaming, and magic by Jim Eggold. Live music will be provided by the Saddleback Jazz Band and Commercial Music Ensemble.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, will honor the 2016 Saddleback College Alumna of the Year, Michelle Desilets, who has been recognized around the globe for her work in the protection of endangered orangutans and their habitat. Michelle, who is the founder and executive director of Orangutan Land Trust, developed an interest in anthropology when she attended Saddleback College in the mid-eighties. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English literature from Dominican University in San Rafael, and a teaching certificate from California State University, Long Beach.
During her years of teaching school she traveled extensively, and it was in Borneo in 1994 where she met her first orangutan, who stole her heart and changed her life. In 1997 Michelle and a fellow volunteer opened a rescue center in Central Borneo that is now the world’s largest primate rescue facility, and she later founded the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK and Orangutan Land Trust, which works to provide sustainable solutions for the long-term survival of the orangutan in the wild by ensuring safe areas of forest for its continued survival.
In addition to her charity work, Michelle has served as a consultant to international film crews from BBC, PBS, and Animal Planet, for the series Orangutan Island and Orangutan Diary. She is currently advising on a new film project for ITV (UK) and PBS. Her efforts have been recognized by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Prince Charles, and her organization was honored by the BBC Wildlife Trust as one of the top ten UK charities working to save wildlife globally.
Top gala sponsors include:
Presidential Sponsors — Dr. Tod A. Burnett, Janet and Michael Hamilton, Follett Bookstore
Cardinal and Gold Sponsors — C. W. Driver, Hudson Pacific Properties, City of Dana Point, Neudesic, LLC, Capata & Co.
Gaucho Sponsors — AT&T, Audi Mission Viejo, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud and Romo, FLS International, Irvine Valley College, Liebert, Cassidy and Whitmore, Prendiville Insurance Agency, Rancho Mission Viejo and John Williams.
During the cocktail hour, Rancho Capistrano Winery will host a wine tasting, and Spa Girls Cocktails will host martinis for the guests.
To make a donation to the gala or to support scholarships, please visit the Saddleback College Foundation website at www.saddleback.edu/foundation.
The Saddleback College Foundation initiates and coordinates college and community fundraising in support of Saddleback College and its students. By raising funds for scholarships and other programs, which directly benefit students, the foundation is committed to increasing student success and the enhancing the excellent education offered by Saddleback College. Guided by a group of dedicated community leaders, the foundation strives to make higher education attainable for all in south Orange County. For more information, please visit www.saddleback.edu/foundation.