SEED20 opened so many doors for us and continues to affect our work to this day.Sil Ganzo, Founder of ourBRIDGE, SEED20 Class of 2014

From startups to established nonprofits with a new approach, all are welcome to apply to SEED20 – Charlotte’s #1 program for nonprofit entrepreneurs. While there is a significant prize pool, SEED20 brings value far beyond the monetary awards. SVP offers expert coaching, networking, exposure, marketing, and an alumni program to continue the SEED20 experience well after the competition ends. Everyone involved in SEED20 is a winner!

To apply to be part of the Class of 2018, please click on the APPLY button below. We will let you know in September 2017 when the on-line application is available.

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If you are interested in applying to SEED20, please take a few minutes and review these FAQs.

Who can apply?

Whether it be an individual with a well-formed idea, an entrepreneur launching a nonprofit, an established organization with an innovative program, or any combination of the above, SEED20 applicants should:

  • have a vision for tackling pressing social challenges and be committed to building strong, sustainable organizations to achieve that vision
  •  be entrepreneurial and resourceful
  •  recruit and empower strong teams and focus on results.

Anyone in Mecklenburg or bordering counties with a passionate commitment to deliver breakthrough social impact can apply. Your main focus must be to have a significant impact in the Charlotte area including Mecklenburg County, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster, Lincoln, Union, and York.

If improving your community is part of your life’s journey, we’re here to help you realize your mission. We are looking for great people with great ideas to support.

Additional Notes:

  • There are no restrictions based on size, budget, or age of the idea/program/organization however participants must have 501(c)(3) status to receive any awards. If 501(c)(3) status is not applied for within 12 months of SEED20 OnStage, any awards will be forfeited.
  • Applicants may employ revenue-generating strategies for some or all of their income.
  • Individuals or specific programs previously selected for SEED20 are not eligible to apply.
  • Participants must be individuals and are expected to fully engaged in the program and be open to advice and coaching by business and community leaders. Multiple people cannot participate on behalf of an idea/program/organization.
  • There is no cost to participate in the program.

Why should I apply?

If you are serious about pursuing a great idea that builds social value, you will want to be a part of our SEED20 community. If you are accepted, the worst-case scenario is that you will experience great networking opportunities, excellent coaching on your positioning and pitches, a better understanding of the rich social nonprofit landscape that already exists in our region, and the opportunity to participate in our vibrant Alumni community. The best-case scenario is that you get all of that plus you get to present at SEED20 OnStage, win a cash award, accolades, and tons of free publicity. In short, given the exposure and experience, everyone involved with SEED20 comes out a winner!

How do I apply?

Applications will be available in September 2017. Read carefully through all the information on this website and the online application, when it is available. Be sure to check that the Important Dates work with your schedule. Submit your application online before the deadline. All applications will be reviewed by a Selection Committee from Social Venture Partners. Based on the applications and possible follow-up research, the Selection Committee will invite up to twenty applicants to participate.

How are applicants selected to participate?

Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for Sustainable Impact – Does this idea/program/organization address an important social issue? Is it already having or likely to have a significant long-term impact?
  • Innovation  – Is this approach or idea novel, unique, and entrepreneurial?

How might applicants benefit from this program?

Through the SEED20 program, the nonprofit participants have the opportunity to share their compelling work with the community and gain:

  • Valuable strategic advice and resources
  • Greater confidence and effectiveness when making presentations
  • Opportunities to cultivate long-term, cross-sector relationships with sponsors, businesses, other nonprofits, and community leaders
  • Access to new donors and funding opportunities
  • Exposure to a large audience, a strong social media community, and potential volunteers
  • Marketing and communications advice and assets (photos, videos and signs)
  • A succinct and compelling pitch
  • Membership into the SEED20 Alumni Network.

I’m a social entrepreneur, but my idea would work best on a for-profit model. Can I compete in SEED20?

No, SEED20 is designed for nonprofit ideas. We know that great social entrepreneurs can also adopt for-profit or L3C models, but our competition is limited to nonprofit organizations to ensure that all of the ideas can be evaluated on a comparable basis.