The Idea Foundry InterSector Program is pleased to announce the first Passion + Profit Slam (P+PS), a competition designed to ignite interest and innovation in the social enterprise sector. Social enterprise is defined as a for-profit venture that produces social and/or environmental benefits for its customers, investors, employees, and for the communities in which it operates.
P+PS is open to teams of graduate students enrolled in Western Pennsylvania colleges and universities, and is aimed at raising awareness about the value of social enterprise and the unique services that InterSector can offer to aspiring social entrepreneurs.
This year’s Slam will focus on the challenges of the food sector. Competitors should investigate barriers to growth in their local food economies and create market-based solutions to address them. There are several potential impact areas within this sector:
- Production – Increased monetary value of produce; improved crop yields; product stabilization (e.g. canning, drying, freezing); decreased energy/water inputs; urban farming opportunities
- Transportation & Distribution – Shared pickup/delivery services; crowd-sourced delivery (e.g. using commuter vehicles to move small amounts of goods into the city center from suburbs and rural areas); coordinated backhauling (moving goods on the return trip of a delivery); alternative transportation methods (e.g. bicycle delivery, bio-fuel vehicles, etc.); shared warehouse and cold-storage; IT-based logistics solutions
- Quality of Food – Reduced use of pesticides; decreased chemical additives (e.g. growth hormones, fertilizers); higher nutritional value food; elimination of heavy metals and bio-accumulative chemicals (chemicals that don’t break down and are accumulated as they move up the food chain by creatures consuming contaminated crops or other creatures)
- Availability – Outlets in food deserts; sales to schools; support for food pantries and food banks; farmers markets and year-round marketplaces
- Disposal – Closing the nutrient loop; windrow composting; vermicomposting; reduced/ reusable/ recyclable packaging
- Consumption – Residential food growing, preparation, and cooking education; obesity prevention and healthy eating promotion; farm-to-table food experiences
Student teams are strongly encouraged to focus on a single challenge/opportunity within one of these areas instead of attempting to solve broader and wide-reaching issues. Teams are also urged to connect with existing community organizations, activities, or initiatives to explore real-life challenges that exist in or around the college’s community, and for which solutions can be proposed as part of the P+PS.
Teams are invited to submit executive summaries of their business ideas for improving and empowering the local food economy by October 28, 2012. The InterSector team will choose six teams to pitch their concept to a panel of judges on January 11, 2013. The top two teams of the P+PS will receive $2,500 and $1,000 cash prizes and be invited to apply to the InterSector Program for 2013.
Visit www.intersector.org to find out how to participate and to find the complete list of rules and regulations.
InterSector, a program of the Idea Foundry, was established in 2012 to support socially and environmentally focused businesses that require a longer runway to profitability due to their double and triple bottom line commitment. InterSector is a twelve- to sixteen-week program that helps early-stage social enterprise companies find the best opportunities for both impact and revenue generation and positions them for potential entry into the Transformation Fellowship Program.
Idea Foundry is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit economic development organization tasked with creating high-quality, high-paying jobs for the region. Through its Transformation Fellowship Program, Idea Foundry provides capital, expert mentoring, and hands-on assistance to early-stage technology companies, helping to ensure their success and continued contribution to the local economy.