By Steven Metcalf
Innovators in education have made an impressive showing so far in this year’s prestigious Social Venture Partners Seattle’s Fast Pitch competition. Of the 14 finalists more than half focus on serving early, grade school, or higher education individuals.
SVP Fast Pitch is an annual competition dedicated to identifying and nurturing socially-minded innovators in the Puget Sound region. Here’s a closer look at the eight Finalists from this year’s program with an education focus:
Established Nonprofit Finalist Pay It Forward restores college access by replacing the broken tuition-and-loan system with a social insurance plan for higher education. Under the program students would not have to pay tuition upfront while attending college. Instead they would contribute a percentage of their income after college, so they graduate with less debt.
Startup Nonprofit Finalist Edge Schools Foundation promotes innovation in schools by helping students with challenges such as ADHD who may be frustrated, underachieving, or on the verge of dropping out. Coaches work with middle and high school students one-on-one to foster their academic success.
Startup For-profit SEED (Sustainable Education Every Day) is creating living, healthy, restorative classrooms that teach students about sustainable systems and strategies. The process leads to classrooms that can, among other things, produce their own water and energy, consists of non-toxic materials, and have daylight and urban agriculture.
Established Nonprofit Finalist Unleash The Brilliance is a vibrant and exciting organization that offers an amazing alternative to truancy, bullying, peer pressure and drug related activity. Young people reach out to their apathetic and at-risk peers through dance, music, theater, and personal testimonials. UTB is piloting a new program “Think, Plan, Fly” that reaches out to middle schoolers in transition to high school
Startup Nonprofit Finalist Tiny TreesPreschool uses outdoor classrooms to make quality education in reading, math and science affordable and accessible to all families. By eliminating traditional brick and mortar classrooms Tiny Trees can offer an enriching preschool education at 30%-40% of the cost.
High School Venture Finalist Club What connects students with clubs and clubs with students. The mobile app lists schools and their student groups by category. It’s a resource that allows students to find school clubs that interests and can be beneficial to them.
Highschool Venture Finalist Dyslexi-type is a learn-to-type software game designed for kids with Dyslexia.
University Venture Finalist Scholarship Junkies is redefining educational access. With a students helping students model, it leverages scholarship winners to aid scholarship applicants with covering the cost of their higher education.
You can show your support for these education innovators at the final Fast Pitch showdown later this month. All 14 finalists will compete in front of a crowd of hundreds Tuesday, October 28th at Seattle’s McCaw Hall. Judges will rate the best five-minute pitches. Winners will get part of a $250,000 prize of grants and investments. And as an audience member you will get to pick who takes home thousands of dollars in Audience Choice awards. Tickets are still available. We’ll see you there!