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Fast Pitch FAQ

Calendar  |  Process  |  Guide  |  Judging Rubric  | Awards  |  Application

Q: If I applied last year, may I apply again?

A: Yes. We’d be happy to see re-applications as long as you meet the application criteria and were not awarded grants or investments last year.

Q: How many prizes will be awarded?

A: See Awards page. In 2013, prizes ranged from the $500 Angel checks to $20,000 grants for non-profits and a  $140,000 investment for-profits. Prizes vary each year depending on sponsorship.

Q: Is there any cost to apply for SVP Fast Pitch Seattle?

A: No. There is a $20 fee to attend the optional Jumpstart workshops to help you prepare for the application process. Here are the workshops for 2014: Designing for Humans (June 11); Financial Modeling (June 17); Marketing, Sales, and Social Impact (June 27).

Q: Where do I find questions specific to the application process?

A: Consult the application process and application guide.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?

A: See Apply page.

Q: Will there be on stage, American Idol-style critique after each presentation?

A: No.

Q: Are for-profit social innovation businesses eligible to receive grants?

A: Yes, although the primary awards for for-profit applicants are investments. See Awards. Read here for the details on the investment terms.

Q: What’s your definition of a for-profit social innovation business for this competition?

A: In the investment category, we are looking for early-stage for-profit businesses which have a specific, meaningful mission and innovative approach to address an important social or environmental problem through their core operating model. This competition is not suitable for businesses which have only a financial charitable commitment or simply operate with top quality social, community or environmental standards, even though those are great and commendable things to do!

Good fit example 1:

Your business mission is to sell micronutrient-enriched, tasty, healthful snacks targeting low-income families at attractive prices through government school meal and other distribution channels addressing a major health problem of nutrient deficiency amongst this population.

Good fit example 2:

Your business mission is to develop a competitively-priced new food packaging material targeting the restaurant takeaway market which keeps food at the initial temperature for 2 hours and is 100% bio-degradable, greatly reducing society waste.

Bad fit example 1:

Your business gives away 10% of your profits to youth charities, every employee gets paid to volunteer a day per month to a charity, and you give your employees better benefits than your competitors.
Bad fit example 2:

Your business uses 100% recycled materials, is carbon negative, creates no waste, and you and your employees actively advocate for other local businesses to do the same.

Q: Is this a business plan competition?

A: Not specifically. Although if you do have a social innovation idea that you are in the early stage of developing and can present it with passion and credibility, you will still be competitive and we’d like to help you bring it to the next level.

Q: How does SVP Fast Pitch Seattle’s program compare to Fledge? Which should I do?

A: SVP Fast Pitch Seattle and Fledge are different but complementary. In a nutshell, Fledge is a 2-month intensive boot camp program for early-stage, for-profit, “Conscious Companies”. The Fledge program culminates in a “demo day” in front of press, investors, and community, with no judges. SVP Fast Pitch Seattle is a less-intensive 6-month training and community-connecting program that culminates in a big-stage pitch competition, accommodating both nonprofit and for-profit social impact organizations.
SVP Fast Pitch Seattle and Fledge share many common goals, including as Michael ‘Luni’ Libes says “…adding to the entrepreneurial infrastructure in order to grow the whole conscious ecosystem … which includes: talent, education, mentorship, gathering spaces, events, incubation, acceleration, and funding.”

We hope for-profit organizations will apply to both programs. Apply to Fledge here.

Q: My organization operates in the Puget Sound area and employs people, but is focused on a national or global market – does our employing locals count as “substantial impact”?

A: If the employment is the nature of your organization’s mission – for example, in-sourcing national/global work and training people in the Puget Sound area to do it – then yes, that would count. If, however, you are building an innovative product that addresses a social need nationally/globally and simply employ people in the Puget Sound area, we do not expect you would be competitive with others who will/do have more substantial local focus and impact. Note that the judging for grants (to local non-profits) will be more focused on this issue than the investors in for-profit entities, but it matters for both. Your organization must be headquartered in the Puget Sound.

Q: Can I change my application after I submit it?

A: Yes, you can change it up through the deadline of July 1 (July 30 for student-track applicants).

Q: Where can I find a list of application questions, so that I can prepare?

A: Here are the Word versions of the application:

For-profit track

Non-profit track

High school/College student track

Note: This is for reference only, and all applications must be completed using the online form.

Q: Can one organization submit two (or more) applications?

A: Yes, although we would advise focusing on any individual doing one really well.