incubator

Cohort Opportunity at Lunar Startups, with Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer

Lunar Startups creates opportunities and access for underestimated entrepreneurs. The deadline to apply to Cohort 2 is January 13.

Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer of Lunar Services and Lunar Startups
Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer of Lunar Services and Lunar Startups

Danielle Steer, Managing Director of Lunar Startups, describes the events leading to the formation of their organization as a “serendipitous perfect storm.”

In 2017, the Knight Foundation became interested in supporting underrepresented, underserved entrepreneurs, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

Around this same period, the late Glen Nelson bequeathed a gift to help American Public Media to invest in the future of journalism. This led to the launch of the Glen Nelson Center.

Also, around this same time, Ecolab moved their global headquarters, leaving their former building vacant. Ecolab CEO Doug Baker worked with the building owners to sell the building to a group of entrepreneurs who had a vision for an entrepreneurial center.

“So, we had space. We had the funding from the Knight Foundation. We had the organization who was willing to be the home of this startup,” says Danielle. It was from this confluence of events that Lunar Startups was born.

Lunar Startups is a year-long incubator dedicated to serving underestimated entrepreneurs such as women, people of color and LGBTQ. Danielle says that she borrowed the term “underestimated” from famed venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton.

Amanda Heyman is the Director of Lunar Services at Lunar Startups. Lunar Services provides business and legal technical assistance to those within Lunar Startups cohorts. “The underestimated founders that we work with often don’t have those informal networks to key service providers,” Amanda explains. “For example, they may not have an uncle who is a lawyer, or a neighbor who is a CFO, or a friend who is a software developer. The idea behind Lunar Services is to provide access to that sort of help early in the journey.”

Cohort 2 Applications Closing

The deadline to apply to Cohort 2 is January 13. If accepted, startup founders will receive the following:

  • Dedicated office space
  • Access to investors
  • $5,000 travel, technology, and marketing reimbursement fund
  • Access to an expert network of professionals providing pro-bono support
  • Access to state-of-the-art equipment for video conferencing and podcast development
  • Weekly startup-specific programming based on the needs of the cohort
  • A peer network

And more.

Applications close January 13. To learn more about the criteria and to apply, go here: https://www.lunarstartups.org/criteria.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer

“It came out of my background as a lawyer for startups and as a co-founder of a startup myself.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Those underestimated founders that we work with don’t always have informal networks to key service providers that startups need.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “They may not have an uncle who is a lawyer, or a neighbor who is a CFO, or a friend who is a software developer” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “That’s my personal motto: Helping people do good better.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “I was hungry to get back to my program design roots.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “We have doubled down on the idea that the strength of someone’s social network is increasingly important.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “If you don’t come from a community of entrepreneurs, it’s hard to know where to start.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “I truly believe that entrepreneurs have the best eye for identifying innovation.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “We work hard to build a trusted, robust peer network.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the national industry median. And ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “We’re leaving money on the table, both from the investor’s perspective and from a business opportunity perspective.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “There is a huge gap between who has access to funding and resources to help them scale up and meet more market opportunities.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Some people are just a couple of steps ahead of you and can help you understand the opportunities and challenges.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Lunar Services is a startup, within Lunar Startups, which is a startup itself.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “The members of the initial cohorts will get more individualized support.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “We are working to help companies that have achieved a certain level of traction, really blow it up.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “The really hard point for startups is the scale point.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “We don’t take equity or guarantee investment.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Not everyone can afford to take off and pursue just their dreams only.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “You’ll never see programming here that’s at the same time as daycare pick up.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Think bigger.” @AmandaHeyman @LunarStartups Click To Tweet “Being a steward and customer of startups is the single most important thing we can be doing.” @DaniellejSteer @LunarStartups Click To Tweet

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is on a mission to inspire a generation of black youth to pursue a life in tech.

Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast interviews of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on January 15, 2018.

African-Americans make up a little more than 11 percent of the US population. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, only 2.1% of businesses with at least one employee were owned by African-Americans. In the tech sector, the statistics are worse. According to CB Insights’ data on VC investments, only 1 percent of VC-funded startup founders are black. Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is trying to close that gap.

When Mondo was a child, people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Mondo always said he was going to play professional sports. When they heard this answer, folks would often ask, “What’s your Plan B?” This bothered Mondo. “Is there anybody besides my dad that believes in this Plan A?”

When Mondo grew up, he went to the University of Tennessee and tried to walk on. “I got crushed,” he says. He went to Florida A&M and had a similar experience. He eventually graduated from college and became an educator.

Mondo worked in a school district with a high rate of poverty. When he asked kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, many of them said that they were going to play professional sports. “I didn’t want to be that adult that said, ‘What’s your Plan B?’ Really it was, what can I do differently? That’s when The Black Tech Guy was born. Can I build this persona of this Black Tech Guy who is doing awesome things in tech, so that I can compel a young mind to go into tech as their Plan A?”

In January 2010, Mondo had a moment of synchronicity. “I was sitting at home, and I was flipping through channels. I came across this one-hour special on CNBC called Planet of the Apps.” Mondo thought to himself, “Let me go into this space. Let me see if I can do something.” Mondo explains, “That’s how I got into tech. Right after I watched that series, I invested my whole self into tech.”

Early Setbacks

Things did not go smoothly for Mondo. “For the next five years, I did everything wrong,” he admits. “I didn’t understand what best practices were.” Initially, Mondo sought out business advice from those who were experienced in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. However, their advice did not fit. “Bringing a tech startup to market is completely different than building a traditional business.”

At the time, Mondo felt like he had to get his business idea perfect before launching. “That was so wrong, and I ended up wasting $50,000.” Mondo wishes he would have had someone to show him the way to build a tech startup. “I had nobody to help me navigate this space. I didn’t know anybody who had been through the tech journey to even ask.”

Mondo describes his first big mistake. When he built his first app, he was ready to launch, when he discovered a competitor. “I essentially stopped and didn’t go to market. I invested a bunch more money on ‘How can I make my thing cooler?’” He added several new features without feedback from the marketplace. “What I learned moving forward was, it’s not about the bells and whistles. How do you get that minimum viable product to market and then execute your product to the best of your ability?”

Building Knowledge and a Tribe

Eventually, Mondo found an online course from Stanford University that spelled out how to launch and iterate a tech startup. And, in another moment of synchronicity, Mondo came across an organization called Graveti. Graveti’s mission is to make Minnesota a promised land for people of color in tech and entrepreneurship. “We all met at a time when we needed each other, Mondo says. “It just organically happened.” Graveti became a peer group with whom he could share his struggles and learn from others.

Mondo does not regret making mistakes and learning. “My mission is to inspire and motivate black boys to go into tech. If it takes me to learn through $50,000 worth of mistakes, that’s a small price to pay. When you realize why you were put on this earth, you wake up every morning, and you have this drive because you have this North Star you want to accomplish, life is just different.”

Shifting Business Models

The first few apps that Mondo built were focused on a monetization strategy that depended on a million or more users. Today, he focuses on consumer pay business model. He is currently focusing on two new projects: Shortiez and SafeSpace.

Shortiez is a digital library of culturally relevant content. Mondo’s goal is for kids of color to see themselves reflected in the stories they read.

SafeSpace allows the user to notify anyone within three blocks to respond as a witness when interacting with law enforcement. SafeSpace was built in collaboration with Software for Good, whose goal is to make the world a better place by building great software for companies doing great things.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Mondo Davison

“I only own The Black Tech Guy shirts.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“You can get an MVP to market and just test, iterate.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“It was just a lot of crashing and burning.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“It’s not a mom-and-pop shop where you have to take down all the bricks.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“We built this brotherhood.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“We all met at a time when we needed each other.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“I call us this family of founders.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“I have domain expertise, working in that space for seven years.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“There are limited to no books that are culturally relevant in the classroom.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“I couldn’t find any book that had a person of color on the cover. Fast forward 25 years, and that’s still the case.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

“So many schools have this problem.” @TheBlackTechGuy Click To Tweet

Click To Tweet

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

Meet the FINNOVATION Fellows, with Katrina Becker

FINNOVATION Fellows are the next wave of social entrepreneurship in the Upper Midwest.

Meet the FINNOVATION Fellows

Meet the FINNOVATION Fellows

Katrina Becker, Fellowship Program Manager at the FINNOVATION Lab

Katrina Becker, Fellowship Program Manager at the FINNOVATION Lab

Katrina Becker has been quietly working in the background of the social entrepreneurship scene in the Twin Cities. She recently joined the FINNOVATION Lab as the Fellowship Program Manager.

The FINNOVATION Fellowship is a nine-month incubator and fellowship program to support impact entrepreneurs. You may have heard about the FINNOVATION Fellowship in episode 252 of Social Entrepreneur.

With the launch of this program, the FINNOVATION Lab is building a powerful engine of change in the Midwest – a cohort of individuals with bold ideas and the passion for executing innovative solutions to intractable issues.

In this episode, Katrina describes the process of sorting through hundreds of applications who submitted extensive written and video content. They were judged on eight criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, resilience, financial stability, passion, growth potential, social impact, and innovation. Sixteen finalists were selected. Those finalists spent 20 minutes with coaches, answering questions. They each gave a 3-minute pitch in front of a room full of judges. In the end, five people were selected as the 2018 – 2019 FINNOVATION Fellows.

Each fellow receives a $50,000 living stipend, health insurance stipend, free co-working space, a tailored curriculum, and one-on-one mentorship. The funds were made possible by the Bush Foundation.

Junita Flowers

Junita L. Flowers

Frozen Cookie Dough to Increase Hope, Awareness and Funding for Domestic Abuse Victims

Junita is one of the few social entrepreneurs to appear twice on the Social Entrepreneur podcast; July 2017, and July 2018. Junita calls herself the “Hope Muncher-in-Chief.” She is on a mission to spread a message of hope, inspiring women to live their best lives. Junita believes the FINNOVATION Fellowship will allow her to access leadership training opportunities, strengthen her confidence as a business owner and make meaningful connections, allowing her to maximize her community support impact both locally and nationally.

Michelle Tran Maryns

Michelle Tran Maryns

Reservation Tool to Increase Small-Business and Customer Community Impact

Before founding her own social venture, Michelle Tran Maryns helped entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses as the Chief of Strategic Initiatives at Metropolitan Economic Development Assoc.(MEDA). Before MEDA, she developed leadership experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors through her work at the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice, Rêve Consulting, and the American Academy of Neurology. Michelle applied to the fellowship program to leverage her experience working in these different sectors to create a social venture that fosters collaboration and increases the positive community impact. Being selected as a FINNOVATION Fellow means a lot to Michelle because this is the first social enterprise that she has started, and she is excited to learn more from the FINNOVATION Lab community.

Mimi Aboubaker

Mimi Aboubaker

Connecting Low-Income Students to Needed Financial Resources and Support

Mimi Aboubaker is the founder and CEO of TUSA, a FinTech venture focused on improving educational outcomes of socioeconomically disadvantaged students. TUSA provides scholarship and financial aid providers and philanthropists with a vehicle to remove cost barriers to higher education for low-and-middle-income students and to deploy education capital that has a quantifiable and measurable reduction to the student loan debt we often discuss but haven’t found a methodical way to tackle. Before the venture, Mimi worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, merchant banking at Morgan Stanley, and corporate development at Prada Group. Her experience as a first-generation American and college student who independently navigated the college and financial aid processes motivates her work in the educational equity space and passion for the venture. Mimi is excited about leveraging the resources and expertise of mentors and advisors through the FINNOVATION Lab Fellowship program.

Nicholas Alm

Supporting LGBTQ Entrepreneurs

Nicholas Alm was a serious violinist who originally wanted to be a music teacher but due to societal pressure opted for business school. In 2016, he co-founded The University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management’s first undergraduate LGBTQ organization, just months before beginning the blueprints for what would become Mossier, an organization dedicated to serving LGBTQ entrepreneurs. He serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota International NGO Network; a group focused on growing Minnesota’s ecosystem of international development practitioners. Nicholas feels the extraordinary amount of talent and expertise within the FINNOVATION community is unmatched and having a community of support among the other FINNOVATION Fellows will assist his development as an entrepreneur and add excitement.

Precious Drew

Precious Drew

Natural and Affordable Skin Care Solutions through Upcycling

Precious Drew is a recent graduate from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Global Business with a focus in entrepreneurship. Precious dedicated her junior and senior year to designing and implementing a business providing natural skin care products through the practice of upcycling in the Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship’s Entrepreneur Scholars program. Precious finds great value in being a member of a cohort setting as members can offer constructive feedback, fresh ideas, and new perspectives for the business. No longer shielded by the title of “student,” Precious believes professional mentorship, especially concerning legal issues, in conjunction with the advice and perspective offered from her fellow FINNOVATION Fellowship cohort members, is the next step for her.

Meet the Fellows

If you would like to meet these five FINNOVATION Fellows in person, join the celebration on Monday, September 17th from 4-6pm at the Impact Hub MSP. Details can be found here: http://bit.ly/MeetFinn.

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

Launching Minority-Led Tech Startups with Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is on a mission to inspire a generation of black youth to pursue a life in tech.

Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

African-Americans make up a little more than 11 percent of the US population. Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, only 2.1% of businesses with at least one employee were owned by African-Americans. In the tech sector, the statistics are worse. According to CB Insights’ data on VC investments, only 1 percent of VC-funded startup founders are black. Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is trying to close that gap.

When Mondo was a child, people would ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Mondo always said he was going to play professional sports. When they heard this answer, folks would often ask, “What’s your Plan B?” This really bothered Mondo. “Is there anybody besides my dad that believes in this Plan A?”

When Mondo grew up, he went to the University of Tennessee and tried to walk on. “I got crushed,” he says. He went to Florida A&M and had a similar experience. After leaving college, Mondo returned to Minnesota where he became an educator.

Mondo worked in a school district with a high rate of poverty. When he asked kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, many of them said that they were going to play professional sports. “I didn’t want to be that adult that said, ‘What’s your Plan B?’ Really it was, what can I do differently? That’s when The Black Tech Guy was birthed. Can I build this persona of this Black Tech Guy who is doing awesome things in tech, so that I can compel a young mind to go into tech as their Plan A?”

In January 2010, Mondo had a moment of synchronicity. “I was sitting at home, and I was flipping through channels. I came across this one-hour special on CNBC called Planet of the Apps.” Mondo thought to himself, “Let me go into this space. Let me see if I can actually do something.” Mondo explains, “That’s how I got into tech. Right after I watched that series, I invested my whole self into tech.”

Early Setbacks

Things did not go smoothly for Mondo. “For the next five years, I did everything wrong,” he admits. “I didn’t understand what best practices were.” Initially, Mondo sought out business advice from those who were experienced in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. However, their advice did not fit. “Bringing a tech startup to market is completely different than building a traditional business.”

At the time, Mondo felt like he had to get his business idea perfect before launching. “That was so wrong, and I ended up wasting $50,000.” Mondo wishes he would have had someone to show him the way to build a tech startup. “I had nobody to help me navigate this space. I didn’t know anybody who had been through the tech journey to even ask.”

Mondo describes his first big mistake. When he built his first app, he was ready to launch, when he discovered a competitor. “I essentially stopped and didn’t go to market. I invested a bunch more money on ‘How can I make my thing cooler?’” He added several new features without feedback from the marketplace. “What I learned moving forward was, it’s not about the bells and whistles. How do you get that minimum viable product to market and then execute your product to the best of your ability?”

Building Knowledge and a Tribe

Eventually, Mondo found an online course from Stanford University that spelled out how to launch and iterate a tech startup. And, in another moment of synchronicity, Mondo came across an organization called Graveti. Graveti’s mission is to make Minnesota a promised land for people of color in tech and entrepreneurship. “We all met at a time when we needed each other, Mondo says. “It just organically happened.” Graveti became a peer group with whom he could share his struggles and learn from others.

Mondo does not regret making mistakes and learning. “My mission is to inspire and motivate black boys to go into tech. If it takes me to learn through $50,000 worth of mistakes, that’s a small price to pay. When you realize why you were put on this earth, you wake up every morning and you have this drive because you have this North Star you want to accomplish, life is just different.”

Shifting Business Models

The first few apps that Mondo built were focused on a monetization strategy that depended on a million or more users. Today, he uses a consumer-pay business model. He is currently focusing on two new projects: Shortiez and SafeSpace.

Shortiez is a digital library of culturally relevant content. Mondo’s goal is for kids of color to see themselves reflected in the stories they read.

SafeSpace allows the user to notify anyone within 3 blocks to respond as a witness when interacting with law enforcement. SafeSpace was built in collaboration with Software for Good, whose goal is to make the world a better place by building great software for companies doing great things.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Mondo Davison

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I only own The Black Tech Guy shirts.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“You can get an MVP to market and just test, iterate.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“It was just a lot of crashing and burning.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“It’s not a mom-and-pop shop where you have to take down all the bricks.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We built this brotherhood.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We all met at a time when we needed each other.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I call us this family of founders.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I have domain expertise, working in that space for seven years.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“There are limited to no books that are culturally relevant in the classroom.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I couldn’t find any book that had a person of color on the cover.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“So many schools have this problem.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

[spp-tweet tweet=””Be innovative. Try something. Be risky.” @TheBlackTechGuy”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

Kate Goodall Explains Why Halcyon is Like the X-Men

Halcyon catalyzes emerging creatives who are striving for a better world.

Kate Goodall, Halcyon

Kate Goodall, Halcyon

Kate Goodall, the CEO at Halcyon explains their work this way: “If you think of the X-Men, and you think of Charles Xavier’s Academy for the Gifted, that’s kind of like Halcyon. We take these amazing social entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. They all come together in this inspirational setting to grow together. And they support each other towards solutions that can impact many lives around the world.”

Halcyon supports scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. They are looking for people with a great vision for solving important problems, and who has the talent to do so. For these folks, Halcyon provides resources, information, and connections, allowing them to reach their goals a lot faster than they would on their own.

The core of Halcyon is made up of the Halcyon incubator. They take the best social entrepreneurs from around the world and provide them with a place to live and work for five months. They also provide a $10,000 stipend, a mentor, a business network, business services, and legal advice. After their five-month residency, alumni who live nearby can continue to work out of the Halcyon space for free.

An unusual component to the Halcyon Incubator is, they do take equity in the companies they support. “We come at this through a risk-taking philanthropic perspective,” Kate explains. “We really are like venture capitalists, doing our due diligence on these people and then taking a bet very early on.”

Halcyon was cofounded by Dr. Sachiko Kuno. Dr. Kuno cofounded and was the major shareholder in two pharmaceutical firms: Sucampo Pharmaceuticals in Maryland and R-Tech Ueno in Japan. Kate says of Dr. Kuno, “This is really possible because of her generosity.” Dr. Kuno dedicated the 30,000-square foot house in which Halcyon operates. Dr. Kuno also covers all the operations of the house. Halcyon raises philanthropic capital for the stipends, programs and services.

Another component of Halcyon’s work is the Halcyon Arts Lab, which spun out of the success of the Incubator. “We saw how impactful it was to give people time and space. We figured out how we would do the same thing for civic-minded artists,” Kate describes. Artists get 9 months of free residence and a suite of resources. At the end of their residency, the artists deliver a socially impactful art project. The artists “pay it forward” by mentoring a high-school artist who also produces a socially relevant art project.

“At the core of Halcyon’s methodology is this idea of helping somebody find self-efficacy,” Kate said. “What we mean by that is the ability to envision something, and to take one step over the other to achieve it.”

Halcyon does not to focus on a single sector, such as healthcare or education. “We saw ourselves our expertise, not in one subject area, but rather in the methodology of providing space and time and community and access,” Kate says. “We decided to take anyone with solutions who have demonstrated that they understand the problem and they have developed a sound business plan around it.”

Halcyon specifically focuses on the underserved. “About 5% of VC funding goes to women, 1% to African-Americans, and far less than that to women of color,” Kate says. “And, interestingly, in the art world, the numbers are almost exactly the same when you look at collections in museums across North America and Europe.” Because of Halcyon’s focus on the underserved, 51% of the founders they support are women and 62% are founders of color. “It makes our cohort groups stronger because you get a variety of perspectives when solving any problem.”

Halcyon’s methodology produces measurable results. “In just over three years, the fellows of Halcyon have impacted nearly half a million lives around the world, raised over 25 million dollars and created 350 jobs,” says Kate.

Kate Goodall’s Journey to Halcyon

Kate grew up in England where she was the oldest child to a single mother. “I think that made me aggressively independent,” she observes. “I’ve always been a bit of an explorer, very curious.” She and her mother moved to the United States when Kate was 14 years old. It was a time transition and transformation – a new age, a new country and a new culture. “I really learned with the culture shift. I learned to talk to a whole different group of people.”

In college, Kate studied film, French, and world literature. “I was a generalist, or a Renaissance person,” she says. “I’m always fascinated with humans and our struggles and our pain.”

In grad school, she studies maritime archeology. She dove on ship wrecks for many years. “The transferrable skills set from that period of my life is, I learned not to panic.”

Kate’s career took her into philanthropic work, working with organizations such as the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. In 2013, Kate became the Chief Operating Officer of the S&R Foundation with Dr. Kuno. Kate and Dr. Kuno co-founded Halcyon.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Kate Goodall

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘The core of Halcyon is the idea of helping someone find self-efficacy.’ Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“There is this big myth around fail fast in this space.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“The kinds of things our fellows are working on are not the kinds of things where failure is an option.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We set out intentionally to be diverse.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“About 5% of VC funding goes to women, 1% to African-Americans, and far less than that to women of color.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Focus on what is the core problem that you are trying to solve.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“In just over three years the fellows have impacted nearly half a million lives.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Think outside the box and consider slightly more risky propositions.” Kate Goodall, @HalcyonInspires”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Sustainable Community Development through Entrepreneurship, with Marcus Owens, NEON

Northside Economic Opportunity Network, better known as NEON, provides entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis with business development services.

Marcus Owens, NEON

Marcus Owens, NEON

Marcus Owens is a product of North Minneapolis. He grew up there, graduating from North Community High School. He bought his first home there. Then his second. He says, “I always wanted to find a way to give back to this community.”

Marcus has long been an entrepreneur, operating real estate and financial services businesses. He also worked at a regional bank and a large retailer. He ran a small nonprofit. By 2012, he was looking for more ways to give back to the community. He found his way to the board of NEON. Two years later, he took over as the CEO.

NEON works with low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs to build wealth and develop a sustainable community. They offer training and coaching. They also provide access to capital and access to markets. Their coworking space is on West Broadway in North Minneapolis.

Marcus says that “We’re trying to revitalize [North Minneapolis] in a way that provides the people that are here with ways to bring themselves out of poverty.” Marcus and board developed innovative ways to fund NEON. Though NEON is a nonprofit, they have several streams of revenue. Marcus explains, “It’s not enough to just give services away. You’ve got to create affordable options for folks to work with you, and bridge the gap where the market does not exist today.”

To give small businesses access to the market, NEON has two incubator programs. One incubator is centered around the business of property maintenance. NEON owns a property maintenance business and aggregates smaller subcontract work. They develop these subcontractors with business development skills. They also have a partnership with Twin Cities RISE to provide personal development. NEON also runs a food business incubator program.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Marcus Owens

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We saw North Minneapolis as a key area to provide development services.” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We saw that the way to develop assets was through small business ownership.” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

“[spp-tweet tweet=”We wanted to give people a gateway to start a business.” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

“We have about 42% of our residents in poverty.”

“We’re building a community of entrepreneurs together.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“What problem are you solving and who are you solving it for?” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

“We have a great partnership with Fredrikson & Byron.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I always wanted to find a way to give back to this community.” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

“There is no difference in nonprofit and for-profit in how you should operate.”

“How do you innovate in a space that has not been innovated in a long time?”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“How can you start it today?” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Think about how you’re spending money. Are you spending it in your community?” Marcus Owens, @NEONBusiness”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

 

134, Verengai Mabika, Development Reality Institute (DRI) | The Climate Change Challenge and Opportunity

Verengai Mabika sees the opportunities created by climate change.

Eighty percent of Zimbabwe’s businesses depend on Agriculture. Most agriculture in Zimbabwe is rain-fed. Climate change brings record high temperatures and frequent droughts. When crops fail, so does Zimbabwe’s economy. The droughts, combined with land reform, changed Zimbabwe from a net exporter of agricultural products to an importer of food. There are currently around four million people who need food aid in Zimbabwe.

Verengai Mabika has a passion for designing green communities. He was trained as an urban planner with an emphasis on environmental design.

In 2009, there was a sharp rise in political violence. Verengai told me, “I was surprised by the way our leaders were taking advantage of young people who had so much energy. I thought I could motivate a few young people to get into a discourse that I believed was very serious and could bring some opportunities for them.”

The Development Reality Institute taps into the high number of unemployed youth to address the effects of climate change. They have three key activities. They run a virtual school to build the capacity of people to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. They operate the Green Innovations Hub, which is a space with technical and financial assistance for innovative ideas. And they work with young people in school, educating them through their Cool Schools program.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Verengai Mabika

“We believe that we can create a generation of social entrepreneurs who can effectively respond to the effect of climate change.”

“I believe that the climate change discourse, even though it is one of the greatest challenges, it also offers some huge opportunities.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘I see it as a dual challenge of climate change as well as unemployment.’ @VerengaiMabika, @DRIafrica”]

“The current unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is about 80%.”

“What we’re trying to create here is a pathway for young people to think differently when it comes to climate change.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘The Green Innovations Hub is both a virtual and physical space.’ @VerengaiMabika, @DRIafrica“]

“Most of the motivation that keeps me going is the motivation that I draw from my colleagues.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Persistence and consistency are quite key.’ @VerengaiMabika, @DRIafrica“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘There’s now compelling evidence that #climatechange is a huge issue.’ @VerengaiMabika, @DRIafrica“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

109, Clara Brenner, Urban Innovation Fund and Tumml | Creating an Ecosystem

Clara Brenner is creating a startup ecosystem for urban innovation.

Clara Brenner, Urban Innovation Fund

Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund and Tumml

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Globally, 512 cities have at least 1 million inhabitants. With urbanization comes unique challenges, from transportation to public health.

To meet these challenges, entrepreneurs need a unique blend of business and political savvy. Clara Brenner and her co-founder Julie Lein are dedicated to solving core urban problems. Together, they co-founded the Urban Innovation Fund and also Tumml.

Tumml is an accelerator whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. Their 33 portfolio companies have raised over $35 million in investments. They have created more than 300 jobs and touched more than 2.2 million lives with their services.

The Urban Innovation Fund provides seed capital and regulatory expertise for entrepreneurs solving tough urban challenges.

Urban Innovation Quotes from Clara Brenner

“Julie and I are really committed to helping entrepreneurs that are solving core urban problems.”

“Once you’ve proven out your business model, once you’ve proven out that there’s a real there, there, where do you go next for money?”

“Julie and I were just wondering why all of our awesome, engage and thoughtful peers were electing to start the 5,000th photo sharing app instead of the next Revolution Foods.”

“This was around the same time that Lyft was just getting off the ground and Airbnb. And we felt like all these companies had something in common.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”We developed the moniker ‘urban innovation startup.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘The challenges come down to two things. The first is access to early stage capital.’ @clara_brenner, @UrbanInnoFund“]

“Institutional investors really want to see that these companies have a lot traction before they’re going to take a risk on them.”

“Challenge number two is that these entrepreneurs oftentimes face pretty significant regulatory or political challenges.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We have supported 33 companies through Tumml.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘They’ve leveraged our capital, 53x.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml“]

“They’ve built products and services that have touched the lives of 2.2 million people.”

“Seventy-six percent of the companies that we’ve supported have a woman or person of color on the founding team.”

“These are companies that are solving core urban problems and that are facing those challenges that I talked about earlier like trouble raising money at the early stage, maybe a complicated regulatory or political landscape to deal with. We want to be there to be helpful.”

“We really like to work with companies when they’re really new. At Tumml, we’re looking for entrepreneurs with ideas, who want to turn it into a business.”

“We try to look far and wide to find the best ideas and from our perspective, we don’t care where a company is based.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We just want to see that that idea is scalable.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml“]

“We want to see the kind of business that could’ve address the challenges that really are plaguing communities across the United States.”

“We have a mentorship board of founders, community leaders and all types of technical professionals to help our entrepreneurs succeed.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘At Tumml, we like to see really early stage entrepreneurs.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml“]

“We want to see industrious entrepreneurs who are making the best out of the resources that they have at hand.”

“We look for entrepreneurs that are solving problems that have maybe been identified by mayors’

“We try to be in tune with the larger national conversation about real challenges.”

“Many of these entrepreneurs will want to go on and raise investment capital. And we would like to play a role in that.”

“The Urban Innovation Fund is really structured to do two things. It’s a venture capital firm that identifies early stage innovators solving critical challenges in cities, and we provide them with both capital, but also regulatory expertise to scale and hopefully become tomorrow’s most valued company.”

“We’re looking for the best most scalable ideas wherever they come from, and we want to be there to provide them with the capital and regulatory expertise to succeed.”

“We like to be the ones who find those diamonds in the rough and hopefully connect them to the right cities where we know there are particular pain points.”

“We have a less than 5%. I want to say almost 4% acceptance rate.”

“We have worked with 33 companies over the last three years and our cohorts range in size anywhere between 5 and 10.”

“We’ll probably pick four or five out of a batch of 150 or so.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Find a great co-founder.’ @clara_brenner, @Tumml, @UrbanInnoFund“]

“We want to know that you’ve spent a lot of time together and can weather the ups and down that are inevitable when you start a company.”

“I think there is something to be said for making sure the whole team is balanced, and the idea has legs as well.”

“We want to see more folks starting companies in the urban space.”

“We think there’s real opportunity particularly to solve those unsexy problems that everybody experiences on a day-to-day basis.”

“We want people to start thinking of themselves as entrepreneurs and capable of addressing these problems themselves. “

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

066, Andrew Stern, Global Development Incubator | Think Differently About Impact

Think Different. You probably remember that as an Apple motto. But Andrew Stern of Global Development Incubator (GDI) applies the think differently model to the social impact space.

It takes a different kind of thinking to apply the incubator model to nonprofits, but that’s what GDI does. You have to think differently if you want to help social enterprises go from startups to scale, but that’s what GDI does. You have to think differently about multi-stakeholder initiatives in which philanthropists, government agencies and private organizations team up take on Sustainable Development Goals. Again, that’s what GDI does.

One of the initiatives GDI launched in 2016 is Convergence. Convergence is a platform that connects and supports private, public, and philanthropic investors for blended finance deals in emerging and frontier markets.

Blended finance uses public and philanthropic funds to attract private capital, in order to achieve positive development outcomes. In other words, blended finance is:

Government money + charity funds + private money = social impact.

Convergence has an investor and deal network where investors and deals come together in a more efficient way. In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Andrew Stern explains all of this different thinking.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Andrew Stern:

[spp-tweet tweet=”We’re trying to identify social agitators. Andrew Stern of @GlobalDevInc”]

“What is the ultimate pathway to scale of impact that will really make a difference in the world?”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Convergence is the first platform exclusively for blended finance. Andrew Stern of @GlobalDevInc“]

“The middle market or mezzanine level still has some gaps, and those gaps go beyond the financing.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Get in the field and work on the ground. Andrew Stern of @GlobalDevInc“]

“Very few of these good ideas are getting to the scale of impact that we want to see.”

Mentoring Giveaway:

Throughout the month of April, we’re giving away 10, one-on-one mentoring calls to help you launch or grow your social enterprise. We’ll be drawing each week. To enter, go to http://tonyloyd.com/coaching

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

066, Andrew Stern, Global Development Incubator | Think Differently About Impact

063, Gretchen Steidle, Global Grassroots | Conscious Social Change

Gretchen Steidle and Global Grassroots looks for change agents in the most marginalized communities in post-conflict East Africa. Their mission is to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change. They provide mind-body trauma healing, a conscious social change curriculum, mentors and seed capital.

In Conscious Social Change, Global Grassroots emphasizes five key areas:

  1. Cultivating presence.
  2. Becoming whole
  3. Ensuring balance
  4. Staying attuned
  5. Leading from within

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Gretchen Steidle of Global Grassroots:

[spp-tweet tweet=”I was intrigued by what it takes to scale and replicate the best ideas. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots”]

“I recognized that this is where change was happening. It was happening from the grassroots level up.”

“I wanted to find a way to finance more social innovation in the world.”

“I found change agents among illiterate farmers who had escaped genocide.”

“Here was the niche I felt I could serve best, where rebuilding efforts had already begun, but where grassroots needs were still not being met.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Everything we do is extremely experiential. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots”]

“We incorporate trauma healing work with our change agents.”

“Conscious social change is the intersection of mindfulness with social entrepreneurship.”

“We teach mindfulness as a leadership principle.”

“For example, a water venture might sell water to those who can afford to pay for it, but that underwrites orphan school fees and women’s heath fees and their programming on domestic violence.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Do not assume you know what is needed. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots“]

“Go there, listen, ask questions, engage and support local solutions.”

“The more you can recognize that every stakeholder has wisdom that is valuable to the whole, the more quickly you can clearly and accurately define the issue and design a solution that is going to result in long-term transformation.”

“Constantly evaluate if what you are doing is really alleviating the underlying social issue.”

“The most important thing that we can do is work on our own self-awareness.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Start with your own breath – by taking three breaths. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

063, Gretchen Steidle, Global Grassroots | Conscious Social Change