Freshly Cut

Social Venture Partners Launches Fourth Annual SEED20 Competition

October 1, 2014

Contact: Susan Daniel
[email protected]


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 fourth annual program to identify, spotlight and support twenty of the region’s most innovative and effective ideas for tackling pressing social challenges. Starting today, individuals and nonprofits in Mecklenburg and bordering counties can download program details and the application at The deadline for submission is October 31, 2014.

SEED stands for Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD. The program aligns directly with SVP’s mission of growing and empowering the region’s vibrant social entrepreneur community. Since SEED20’s inception, SVP has coached, supported, and showcased over 50 organizations and individuals and given out over $160,000 in awards to nonprofit social entrepreneurs.

At the sold-out SEED20 OnStage! this past March, Richard “Stick” Williams, President of the Duke Energy Foundation (a SEED20 sponsor), noted the SEED20 participants “make their passion so evident to people in the audience. It takes a lot of guts to bring your idea forward and to present it and get other people excited about it. I don’t think it gets any better than that.” Charles Bowman, Charlotte and North Carolina Market President for Bank of America (a SEED20 sponsor), added, “these are people who are going to get things done whether they win SEED money or not.”

In early December, SVP will announce the twenty participants selected to be part of the 2015 program. Starting in January, the SEED20 Class of 2015 will receive seven weeks of training, coaching, feedback, and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story. They will have the opportunity to gain:

  • Valuable strategic advice and resources
  • Greater confidence and effectiveness when making presentations
  • Increased exposure for their idea/program/organization
  • The opportunity to cultivate long-term, cross-sector relationships with sponsors, businesses, other nonprofits, and community leaders
  • Access to new donors and funding opportunities
  • Exposure to potential volunteers
  • Marketing and communications assistance and assets (photos and videos)
  • A succinct and compelling pitch.


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 3, 2015, a high-energy event where up to ten members of the Class of 2015 compete to win cash awards. Each finalist will make a three-minute pitch to a panel of judges and an audience of business and nonprofit leaders, foundation executives, and other community members. Following the formal program, SVP hosts a showcase reception where the audience can interact and network with all twenty SEED20 Class participants. “The energy and enthusiasm in the room is palpable,” said an attendee from last year’s event. “This is a great opportunity for Charlotte.”

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


About Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a global network of strategic philanthropists joined by passion and purpose. SVP addresses social problems through venture philanthropy, a model of giving where its members not only provide grants, but also give their collective expertise and time to support the vital work of high-impact nonprofit organizations in Charlotte. To learn more, please visit