Freshly Cut

Social Venture Partners Launches Third Annual SEED20 Competition



Innovative social entrepreneurs will receive seven-week communications skills training and mentoring, plus chance of winning cash awards


CHARLOTTE, NC – Today, Social Venture Partners (SVP) launches SEED20, its third annual competition to discover, spotlight, support, and help fund twenty of the most innovative ideas for building social value in our region.

SEED stands for Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD, and the competition — for a pool of cash awards ­— aligns directly with SVP’s mission of growing and empowering the region’s vibrant social entrepreneur community.

At the sold-out SEED20 OnStage! this past March, former Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx opened the event by sharing, “Entrepreneurs create jobs for our residents and come up with ideas that keep our economy on the cutting edge…. Social Venture Partners’ SEED20 competition… [is] helping aspiring social entrepreneurs turn their concepts into effective nonprofits—it’s exactly the kind of thing we need more of.”


Between now and November 1, SVP will scour the region for big thinkers and doers who are tackling pressing social challenges in innovative ways. Starting today, individuals and nonprofits in Mecklenburg and bordering counties can download the competition details and application at Interested applicants are encouraged to participate in an informational webinar on October 15th at 8PM.


In early December, SVP will announce the twenty participants selected to be part of this year’s competition. Starting in January, the SEED20 Class of 2014 will receive 7 weeks of training, coaching, feedback, and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully “tell their story.” Through this exciting initiative, they will have the opportunity to gain:


  • Greater confidence and effectiveness when making presentations
  • Increased exposure for their organization/idea
  • Valuable new cross-sector relationships with businesses, nonprofits, and community leaders
  • Access to new/additional donors and funding opportunities
  • Exposure to potential volunteers
  • Marketing and communications advice and assets (photos and videos).



A SEED20 participant describing her experience shares,  “At each workshop, I felt supported and lifted up – even by my competitors whom I really see as friends and compatriots now. It was an amazing experience.”


The SEED20 program culminates in SEED20 OnStage! on March 11, 2014, a high-energy event where up to ten members of the Class of 2014 compete to win cash awards by making three-minute “pitches” to a panel of judges and an audience of business and nonprofit leaders, foundation executives, and other community members. SVP hosts a showcase reception following the formal program where the audience can interact and network with the entire SEED20 Class of 2014. “The energy and enthusiasm in the room was palpable,” said an attendee from last year’s event. “This is a great opportunity for Charlotte.”


Last year’s SEED20 Class of 2013 included: Augustine Project for Literacy, Autumn Rain Initiative, Beds For Kids, BELLAS, Doing My Part, Eagle Rock Camp, Feed the Mind Foundation, Kids Heart Felt Health, New Leaders, Playing for Others,, Project One Scholarship Fund, Promising Pages, Swaraj Yoga, The Learning Collaborative, and Youth Empowered Solutions.


In 2013, Speak Up Magazine and My 1st Suit won 2nd and 3rd place awards, respectively. Neet’s Sweets was the People’s Choice Winner. Winner of the SEED20 2013 Grand Prize and coveted Coaches’ Award was the Community Culinary School of Charlotte.


Click here to watch a highlight video from last year’s SEED20 OnStage!


About Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a diverse network of engaged individuals who address community needs through a new model of giving – Venture Philanthropy. SVP leverages the collective expertise, creativity, time, and financial resources of our members and their networks to develop and support promising social initiatives and nonprofits. In addition, SVP fosters a community of socially conscious and well-informed donors through engagement with investees, collaboration with other SVP partners, and participation in educational events. To learn more, please visit