Chicago is leading the way in driving socially-minded businesses and other social enterprises. On June 30th, social change advocates are invited to attend Social Enterprise Pitch Night hosted by Social Enterprise Alliance-Chicago and Net Impact Chicago. If you've ever watched "Shark Tank", you'll understand the format: five social entrepreneur finalists will present their business concepts to judges for prizes (including $1,000 to the winner and a $1,000 audience award) as well as complimentary expert business advice.
Events like this have a nomination process, and Social Enterprise Pitch Night has five primary competitors, including:
- Edova, a Chicago-based education technology social enterprise that brings tablet education into correctional facilities nationwide
- Lihtec, a Chicago-based marketplace platform that facilitates the development of affordable housing by connecting developers with socially minded investors.
- The MetroAlliance, an south-suburban organization that gathers funds to buy underutilized and undervalued housing, commercial and retail properties that are underappreciated due to racial and socioeconomic factors.
- Docademia, a video on demand service offering best in social documentary files packaged for educators.
- MemoryWell, a network of journalists that write life stories for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia who otherwise cannot tell their own stories.
Judges for the event are
- Calvin Holmes, president of Chicago Community Loan Fund
- Jessica Rivas, Social Impact Consultant and Adjunct Professor in Sustainable Supply Chains at DePaul University, and
- Belinda Li, founder/CEO and chief consultant at CiTTA Partnership
The event will be held at Coalition:Impact, a co-working space for social enterprise businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to drive change, from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. (Coalition: Impact is also holding a happy hour on July 12 focused on the social impact/social enterprise community ). Tickets (which include beer and wine) are $15, and can be purchased via Eventbrite at
These are interesting times for social enterprise in Chicago, as more businesses are focusing on making a social impact while many nonprofits are becoming more business-like in their efforts to drive change. Social Enterprise Pitch Night is a great opportunity to get onto the ground floor of a burgeoning movement.
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