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After months and multiple rounds of vetting, judging, and coaching, (SEA) announced the winner of the 2014 Business for Good competition for social enterprises at our Summit 14 in Nashville. Hydrobee, pitched by Burt Hamner, walked away with the top spot. Hydrobee makes portable USB batteries recharged by water, wind, fire, sun and motion. Hamner hopes to provide these devices to the 1 billion people in energy poverty who need USB power for phones and LED lamps and currently pay over $50B a year for USB charging and kerosene lamp fuel.
The first runner up was Conscious Step, pitched by Hassan Ahmad. Conscious Step produces socks made from organic cotton in Fair Trade conditions. For each pair sold, a fixed dollar value is donated to a charitable organization fighting to solve a social, environmental or economic injustice.
The second runner up was HeroTechForge, pitched by Darryl Palmer. HeroTechForge assists veterans transition from the military to high paying in‐demand careers in the technology sector through on‐the‐job training.
Out of over 160 applicants, the three finalists were competitively selected and given the opportunity to pitch at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit 14 in front of a national audience of leading entrepreneurs, funders, policy makers and educators. Six expert judges and the audience vote determined the Business for Good winner. The three finalists were awarded over $60,000 in prizes including seed funding, website and branding services, legal and technical assistance, and admission to Nashville's Entrepreneur Centersocial enterprise accelerator program.
“I believe these entrepreneurs will help SEA achieve our mission - producing massive social value via successful social enterprises. I’m honored that SEA was able to provide them with some of the support necessary to thrive,” says Kevin Lynch, President and CEO. Adds Don Leyrer, Chair of SEA’s Nashville Chapter, “There’s no better place to host this competition than Nashville. We are home to top-notch social enterprises and a robust ecosystem to support new and veteran entrepreneurs.”
The Business for Good Competition was held locally in Nashville in 2013. This was the first year that the contest was open to national and international applicants. The contest provides both experienced and new social entrepreneurs with a platform for new ideas to solve social problems.
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