What is Social Enterprise?

A market-based, income-generating enterprise that aims to solve a social and/or environmental problem through its business activities. Social Enterprises focus on a triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

What is the pitch?

The Great Social Enterprise Pitch is a business plan competition for Central PA entrepreneurs with business ideas or start-ups that use a positive social and environmental impact model. Out of a pool of applicants, a class of ten incredible social enterprise ideas are selected and begin a 5-week intensive training process in February. Halfway through, The Final Five are selected and carefully coached to prepare for the big day — and a chance to showcase their idea in front of a virtual audience. The Great Social Enterprise Pitch takes place in April and is a night to remember ­— 5 Finalists, 5 Judges, 5 Minutes.  Participants compete for an exciting prize package including cash, pro-bono services, and the chance to be Lancaster’s newest innovative business idea!

The 2021 Virtual PitchArrow Right

How it Works

Apply for the Idea Incubator

Think you’ve got a great business idea? Tell us! Apply for ASSETS’ 10-week Idea Incubator to sharpen your idea or business model, and get it in tip-top shape for the 2022 Pitch. Idea Incubators take place twice a year, typically in the Fall and Spring. Applications are currently closed for Spring 2021 and will reopen in mid-August, 2021 for Fall 2021. 

The Idea Incubator is a mandatory prerequisite for entrepreneurs who want to apply for The Great Social Enterprise Pitch.

Hone Your Idea Through Expert Training

Get your social enterprise in tip-top shape! If accepted into the Idea Incubator, spend 10 weeks with like-minded entrepreneurs in a collaborative environment. You will leave with an externally-critiqued business plan, an outline for community impact, and an understanding of what your next steps should be. You will also be encouraged to launch a crowdfunding campaign to test how your idea resonates with the community, and to secure some capital for your start-up costs.

Apply for The Pitch

Think you’re ready for the main event? Apply for The Great Social Enterprise Pitch!

Applications open each year at the end of June. Selections are made mid-July.

It all comes down to this. Put what you’ve learned in the Idea Incubator into action, and submit your application for The Pitch. Ranking is based on the following judging criteria: 1) Clarity on social or environmental need to be addressed, 2) Potential impact the enterprise will have on that need, 3) Market demand, 4) Financial sustainability, 5) leadership, and 6) Potential for scale. There is no entry fee, and applicants can be individuals or teams.

The top ten applicants engage in a 5-week Intensive that builds on the Idea Incubator and prepares you for the ultimate goal — a chance to compete in The Pitch. Halfway through, the Final Five are chosen and carefully coached to prepare for the big day.

Present at the Live Pitch

Get on stage and show us what you’ve got!

5 Finalists, 5 Judges, 5 minutes — it’s the Virtual Pitch! On April 16, 2021, the Final Five will pitch their business idea in five minutes to a panelist of judges and a virtual audience, competing for cash prizes, pro-bono services, and the chance to be Central PA’s newest innovative business idea!

Dates to keep in mind

2021 Spring Idea Incubator

  • January 6, 2021
    Spring Idea Incubator Application Opens
  • February 22, 2021
    Spring Idea Incubator Application Closes
  • March 10, 2021
    Spring Idea Incubator 10-week Class Begins

2020 Fall Idea Incubator

  • June 26, 2020
    Fall Idea Incubator Application Opens
  • September 14, 2020
    Fall Idea Incubator Application Closes
  • September 30, 2020
    Fall Idea Incubator 10-week Class Begins

The Pitch 2021

  • November 16, 2020
    Pitch Application Opens
  • December 17, 2020
    Pitch Application Closes
  • January 4, 2021
    Pitch Cohort Selected
  • February 19, 2021
    Pitch Cohort Publicly Announced & Registration Opens for The 2021 Virtual Pitch!
  • February 22, 2021
    Pitch Classes Begin
  • March 12, 2021
    The Final Five Selected & Announced
  • April 16, 2021
    The Great Social Enterprise Pitch: Virtual Edition

The Event Organizers

At the Community Foundation, we help people who love Lancaster County invest in the future of our community. Since 1924 we’ve been helping people establish permanent funds for the causes they care about and making grant investments to organizations that create a stronger and more vibrant quality of life for all of us. Our mission is to advance the vitality and well-being of the people of Lancaster County by inspiring generosity and by being responsible stewards of gifts for today and tomorrow. Our vision is to champion extraordinary community through inspired giving for sustainable, meaningful impact. We believe that building our community’s culture and capacity for innovation and creative problem solving is essential for an extraordinary community.

Learn more by visiting Lancfound.org Facebook Twitter

ASSETS is a non-profit that works with start-up and existing businesses to form a more ethical economy. They believe in changing the way business is done to build an economy where everyone can prosper. To do this, ASSETS offers in-depth training and financing for entrepreneurs, and works with established businesses to improve their social and environmental impact. The ASSETS staff is a diverse, innovative team of passionate experts with extensive experience in entrepreneurship, social change, and economic development. All program staff are bilingual in English and Spanish.

Learn more by visiting assetspa.org Facebook Twitter

The Event Organizers

Lancaster County Community Foundation
Assets Lancaster