2017 - The Great Social Enterprise Pitch
After more than 21 weeks of competition as well as a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign and live pitch, the winners of the 2017 Great Social Enterprise Pitch have been announced!
Live Pitch Recap
In the end, the judges — and the audience members— were won over by a social enterprise that harnesses the economic value of the experience and skill of Lancaster’s refugee community.
Bridge, an online platform where customers can book cross-cultural experiences with refugees, took the top prize Friday at the Great Social Enterprise Pitch.
“I just want all the refugee people that are coming here right now to know they can do this too,” Mustafa Nuur, a former refugee from Somalia, said after he was named the winner….
Tyler Gage, is an entrepreneur, author, and speaker who uses wisdom from the Amazon and start-up success to bring innovation and inspiration to growing organizations.
He has spent the last 12 years studying with indigenous elders in the Amazon rainforest, venturing far from his suburban roots at the age of 20. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant to start RUNA, a social enterprise that makes energizing beverages with guayusa, a rare Amazonian leaf, and improves livelihoods for 3,000 indigenous farming families in Ecuador. With over 70 employees and 15,000 stores selling RUNA beverages in the US and Canada, RUNA has grown in to one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the US according to Inc Magazine.
Additionally, Tyler was named a Forbes “30 Under 30 Entrepreneur” and winner of both the Big Apple Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Specialty Food Association’s Citizen Leader of the Year Award. ABC Nightline, National Geographic and Richard Branson’s book Screw Business As Usual have all featured Tyler for his unique and powerful approach to building businesses and creating social good.
Now, he serves on the Board of Directors of DavidsTea (NASDAQ: DTEA) and on the Advisory Council for Entrepreneurship at Brown University. In addition to advising and investing in other start-ups, Tyler is a co-founding partner and strategic advisor to NAKU, a pioneering indigenous healing center in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Tyler lives in Bellingham, Washington with his wife Michelle and enjoys boxing, yoga, riding his unicycle, and studying ethnobotany.