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SIFP Winners Schaffer, Hanna win BALLE Fellowship

Posted by Karen Ducey

Two Social Innovation Fast Pitch winners were awarded the prestigious BALLE Local Economy Fellowship yesterday for their social venture businesses. Sarita Schaffer, Director/Co-founder of Viva Farms and Christine Hanna, Director of the Seattle Good Business Network, will each participate in an “intense, close-knit and rigorous 18-month leadership immersion program that strengthens their capacity for transformative change in their communities.”

Composite Phoito of Sarita Schaffer (left) Director and Co-Founder of Viva Farms and Christine Hanna, Director, Seattle Good Business Network, both winners in the The Social Innovation Fast Pitch competition held at the Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center in 2011 and 2012 respectively. (photo by karenducey.com)

Competing against business leaders from around the country who are “dedicated to advancing the local economies movement.” BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) says it chooses fellows who “are leaders at the forefront of rebuilding communities from the ground up through creative economic development strategies that enhance the staying power of locally owned businesses, and through emerging sustainable innovations in manufacturing, finance and food.”

Schaffer, who also is also the Coordinator of the WSU Immigrant Farming Program, runs the Viva Farms Incubator program in Mount Vernon, WA with husband and partner Ethan Schaffer, a non-profit “dedicated to recruiting, training and capitalizing the next generation of sustainable farmers.” In 2011 they were the first place winners in SIFP walking away with three honors totaling $40,000 including the Social Venture Partners Award for Social Innovation and both Audience Choice awards, for Best Pitch and Most Innovative.

This year Christine Hanna took the stage at SIFP along with 14 other finalists pitching her plans to develop Localista, “a loyalty program to encourage and reward buying from local businesses” as part of the Seattle Good Business Network. Hanna took home the Microsoft Award for a Young Non-Profit receiving $15,000 in prize money.

The Social Innovation Fast Pitch developed in 2011 was the brainstorm of the Social Venture Partners offering “nonprofit and for-profit innovators a structured program to develop and sharpen plans and presentations of their work through workshops, coaching, and mentoring. The program culminates in a series of competitive rounds – Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals – that provide recognition, connections, grants, and investments for the winners.”

To congratulate the winners or learn more about any of these social enterprise programs go to the following links.

Seattle Good Business Networkhttp://www.seattlenetwork.org/think-local email:christine@seattlenetwork.org

Viva Farms http://www.vivafarms.org  email: sarita@growfood.org

Social Venture Partners  http://www.socialventurepartners.org/seattle/

BALLE  http://bealocalist.org

SIFP  http://www.socialventurepartners.org/seattle/fast-pitch

Christine Hanna’s pitch at the SIFP 2012 finals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhu0b_zjnw

Ethan Schaffer’s pitch at the SIFP 2011 finals http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdeyJKx4hVw

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