By: Jenna Fitzgerald, Market Analysis Intern
This Thanksgiving, the SEED SPOT family has a lot to be thankful for. We’ve helped to create nearly 750 jobs by supporting 288 socially-conscious business ventures since our inception in 2012. And most importantly, we have impacted a whopping 1.15 million lives through our ventures! [See the complete 2015-2016 Impact Report here]. This work would have been impossible without our inspirational entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and staff working tirelessly to embody our core values and ensure that this process is accessible to all.
If you are new to the startup scene, you probably have experienced the steep learning curve that comes with unfamiliar SEED SPOT and Social Enterprise terminology. From words like “incubator” to “pitch” and coming to understand the importance of twinkle lights, there seem to be tons of unanswered questions and confused looks that are seldom addressed.
At SEED SPOT, we know how important it is to feel in the loop when it comes to these things… I mean, we’ve all been there at some point in our startup journey! Below, you will find a list of 10 crucial buzzwords that we use within the SEED SPOT community. We live and breathe these terms. Study them. Appreciate them. Love their uniqueness, and soon enough, you will understand why we value these simple words and phrases and how they truly help to define our mission and core values as a whole at SEED SPOT.
The heart and soul of every startup company lies within social entrepreneurs. These folks dedicate their careers to identifying social issues and needs and creating unique business ventures to address these issues in hopes of making positive and lasting change.
Think of Robert Thornton, a participant in SEED SPOT’s first ever cohort. Robert longed to showcase the creative minds of individuals with special needs while also being able to raise money for many special needs schools and organizations. With this mission in mind, Paper Clouds Apparel was born. Paper Clouds Apparel features artwork from special needs artists themselves and also hires individuals with special needs to package all of the clothing. Half of the proceeds from every sale is then given to the cause of each campaign. Pretty amazing, right?
Within the startup world, this term is tossed around like a hot potato. Many don’t seem to fully understand the reference, until it is explained in layman’s terms – incubators (within the world of business) serve their venture as a stable environment for them to develop and enhance the quality of their soon-to-be business product or service.
Similar to an incubator, an accelerator also promotes a stable environment for upcoming business ventures. However, the turnover rate is a bit quicker since these ventures already had a stable foundation established. Accelerators tend to target services and products that are close to market, but still need a push. Accelerators hone in on long-term strategies to ensure that each business venture has every opportunity to remain successful in the future.
Impact investing is a crucial component within the startup industry. Impact investors are able to provide financial support to ventures that are dedicated to making a positive social change. This helps the startup industry in more ways than we could imagine as we believe that innovators should not be limited by financial means.
At SEED SPOT, we love to hear any and all pitches! Pitches are important because they give social entrepreneurs a chance to explain their business idea in a concise and engaging manner. Pitches tend to truly encapsulate the passion behind every entrepreneur. A solid pitch explains the high level purpose of the venture and how the venture will be successful. Pitches explain the problem and how the venture solves the problem with a market-based solution.
Since social entrepreneurship has everything to do with our local and global communities, we make it a point to involve any and ALL members in order to receive the best feedback and support from those who we are hoping to impact. This all-encompassing approach to business is something we pride ourselves on at SEED SPOT because we know that all voices matter and deserve to be heard.
One of our all-time favorite events… Demo Day! Giving our entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their business venture to a large and excited crowd is rewarding beyond belief! Demo Day also doubles as a friendly competition where each venture is working towards receiving different awards during the night. Our favorite? The Audience Impact Award – given to the venture that the audience feels will have the most sustainable and positive impact.
By implementing a Social Impact Scale, we have been able to encourage our ventures to remain dedicated to their root cause which was inspired by the original need of the community and desire to make a lasting impact. Throughout the process of developing their business, we also work to call their attention to innovation and diversity – two core aspects to social entrepreneurship… creating unique solutions to issues while also remaining inclusive. We long for all of our ventures to remain responsible when it comes to measuring sustainable and valuable changes within each community or issue that is targeted.
Twinkle lights are hanging light bulbs that represent ideas being formed… and make a space fill up with positive, warm light. They bring us back to our younger days and remind us that anything is truly possible if we have enough courage to believe in ourselves and our dreams.
C’pher Gresham, SEED SPOT’s National Director of Expansion, has some of the best catch phrases you could think of. Not only does he include playful signatures while emailing or unique affirmations while working, C’pher works to go above and beyond to help you realize how valuable you are! When you hear C’pher exclaim “ROCK!”, you know you’ve done work that is truly awesome!
If you walk into our headquarters in downtown Phoenix, you will find a bell on almost every desk you can see. These bells are rung when a something great happens. They inspire an inclusive and positive environment to ensure that people get recognition for the awesome work that they do. As humans, we LOVE sharing but sometimes feel compelled to keep our success to ourselves… Well, at SEED SPOT, we desire to share all of our inspirational moments and baby (or BIG) steps to success with one another. So remember, when something great happens – RING THE BELL!
At SEED SPOT, we encourage all of our employees and ventures to dream big because we truly believe anything is possible. Since the birth of SEED SPOT, Courtney Klein, our CEO, has implemented this empowering mantra into everything from our curriculum to signing thank you notes. Why not go the whole nine yards while making your dreams a reality? We were all put on this earth to contribute something amazing to it… so never think your dreams are “too much” or unattainable… because they aren’t and we long to help you achieve them.
These buzzwords help to build our culture which we believe fuels our competitive advantage within the startup world and the success of every idea that buzzes in and out of our office. With all of those outlined, we hope you feel like a SEED SPOT VIP when you RSVP for Demo Day or read our email updates.