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Giving Thanks for the Whirlwind Year of 2017

By: Bianca Buliga, Digital Marketing Manager

Is anyone else freaked out that it’s the end of November? Where has this year gone?! Every Thanksgiving, the SEED SPOT team stops to reflect and give thanks for the progress of the past year. And we can’t deny it – 2017 has been BIG.

This past year has reminded us time and time again of SEED SPOT’s WHY. Our team runs programs, creates curriculum, visits classrooms, and attends all kinds of events to reach more impact-driven entrepreneurs nationwide.

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SEED SPOT provides social entrepreneurs with access to mentors, training, community partners, capital opportunities, and local resources. Our programs are designed to surround impact-driven entrepreneurs with the best support to take their dreams from back-of-napkin to launch.

Our Alumni have made HUGE impact and have grown leaps and bounds! We would love to tell you about every single win of our alumni, but we curated a handful of wins in 2017! Join us in celebrating:

  • Celebrate EDU, an alum that empowers young adults with disabilities to create happy and purposeful lives, won a $100,000 grant from the Chick-fil-A Foundation this month
  • Young Artist Society, an alum that teaches music entrepreneurship education to disengaged students in Title 1 schools, won 3 grants from the Arizona Commission for the Arts to deepen their impact
  • EpiFinder, an alum focused on advancing neurology research to end epilepsy misdiagnosis, raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter in less than 72 hours and is now aiming for $30,000 by December 8th (donate here)
  • Molly Matthews, founder of Job-IQ (which puts career development in your pocket), was accepted into the prestigious Global Good Fund Fellowship program
  • Makenzie Marzluff, founder of Delighted by Hummus, scored a $600,000 offer from Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank

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  • Support My Club hosted a HUGE annual philanthropy event on 10/25 to showcase their students’ talents at Unexpected Art Gallery in Phoenix
  • Carla Rivera-Cruz, high school teacher that runs SEED SPOT at Western School of Science & Technology, won a $25,000 STEM grant #inspired
  • 2-Day Launch Camp Tampa Bay alum, DecaTxt, was named one of the 100 most exceptional innovations in science and technology from the past year by Research & Development Magazine
  • SEED SPOT Schools alum and founder of BrailleBoard, Josh Kaplan, was awarded a 2017 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes Awardee
  • Chelsea Harden, founder of H.E.A.R.T Center, was featured in the Story Exchange’s “Good on the Ground” series profiling entrepreneurial women addressing social issues in innovative ways

  • Janice Omadeke, founder of the Mentor Method, was selected as a 2017 Beacon Grant recipient to develop a female entrepreneur roadmap for creating tech-enabled businesses as a non-technical founder
  • Erin Witmer, founder of Primary Book Club, launched a beta test for subscription boxes containing books and developmental guides for children from infancy to kindergarten
  • Kenneth Mims of Science Prep Academy hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the academy’s grand opening in Phoenix for 5th-9th graders on the autism spectrum
  • Jaime Martinez of Schola Solutions fundraised via a Kiva loan to connect more students and parents with their ideal public or private school
  • And many more!!!

For the SEED SPOT team, 2017 has been AWESOME. We have experienced awesome growth and could not be more thankful for EVERYONE that has enabled us to be here today. THANK YOU to all of our sponsors, mentors, content experts, and the communities we work in. Here’s a quick breakdown of the whirlwind:

  • We launched in Washington, DC with the generous support of title sponsor, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • We graduated a DC Full-Time cohort that pitched their ventures to nearly 500 startup community members at the famous Warner Theatre

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  • We ran an inspirational African American Boot Camp to create on-ramps for underrepresented entrepreneurs in Phoenix
  • Our co-founder and CEO, Courtney Klein, was selected as one of “20 People to Know” in the Phoenix startup scene by the Phoenix Business Journal
  • Our VP of SEED SPOT Communities, C’pher Gresham, empowered over 100 impact-driven entrepreneurs in Cotonou, Benin as a Mandela-Washington Fellow
  • We piloted 2-Day Launch Camps in Tampa Bay, FL and Santa Barbara, CA with the support of local community organizers

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  • We expanded SEED SPOT Schools to 20 high schools in 3 different states, the majority of which are Title 1 schools.
  • We empowered entrepreneurs with two Evening Programs this fall on opposite sides of the country (RSVP for Phoenix’s Pitch Night on 11/27 here and DC’s Pitch Night on 12/5 here)
  • We won DC Inno’s 50 on Fire award for galvanizing DC’s innovation economy

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  • And finally, we’re throwing a HUGE party at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix to celebrate five years of impact and announce our plans for the future on December 6th (you don’t want to miss this – RSVP here).

On top of all that, our team has more than doubled in size! In addition to working with an impressive group of hard-working interns, we welcomed several full-time team members including:

These are just some of the big wins for our alumni and for SEED SPOT! The work we do would be obsolete without our alumni’s commitment to #DreamBig. To hear the stories of more unbelievable founders, RSVP for DEMO DAY: Celebrating 5 Years of Impact on December 6th. We can’t wait to see you!

Start your entrepreneurial journey today.

Apply for a SEED SPOT Program

Related articles about SEED SPOT Entrepreneurs:

>>“SEED SPOT Alum, Delighted by Hummus, Scores a Deal on Shark Tank”

>>“3 Lessons to Learn from Entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets”

>>“Josh Kaplan: From High School Student to Co-Founder of BrailleBoard”

Lauren McDanell

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