Choosing the 12

posted on March 30, 2015

Last week, representatives from ASSETS Lancaster and the Lancaster County Community Foundation got together to choose the social enterprise ideas for the 2015 Great Social Enterprise Pitch.

This was a long and painful process.

We received 33 applications, which needed to be narrowed down to 10 participants.  Some ideas had great potential for impact, others great potential for profit.  We were looking for those 10 ideas that fit both criteria.  Some ideas were (in our opinions) realistically going to be traditional non-profits and others traditional businesses—those ideas had to go.  We were looking for the best SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ideas.

Choosing the top 5 ideas was simple, these very quickly rose to the top.  The next 4 were more difficult, but eventually agreed upon by the group.  That left us with 1 spot open, yet we had 3 remaining ideas that merited consideration.  After an extra hour of debate, we finally decided that we had created the rules to the competition, so we were entitled to break them!  We increased our participants to 12 and called it a day.

So, 21 prospective social entrepreneurs had to receive a disappointing email stating that they would not be joining us for the 2015 program.  However, there is still hope.  This is part of the message they received:

Please know that we had a large number of outstanding applications which made the decision process VERY difficult.  It should be noted that several of the ideas accepted into the 2015 Pitch actually applied last year as well, but were not chosen at that time.  These applicants used the year to further refine their idea so as to submit a better application this year.  We were very happy to see that these rejuvenated ideas again and we sincerely hope to see an application from you in the future.

We fully expect to see many of these 21 applicants again in future renditions of The Pitch.

For 2015, however, we move forward with these 12 social enterprise ideas.  Some (maybe most) of these ideas will not come to fruition.  THAT IS OK.  The purpose of this competition is to motivate creative people to generate creative ideas, then guide them through the process of forming and testing those ideas.   We have full confidence that, in due time, a number of these social enterprise ideas will take off, creating substantial impact in our community while also inspiring even creative ideas.