11 Inspiring Examples of Social Entrepreneurs Pitching their Social Ventures

From the $1,000,000 Hult Prize Competition to Accelerator Demo Days, See Social Entrepreneurs on Stage Winning Audiences Over One Pitch at a Time

August 03, 2018

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Woman speaking on TED stage
Photo: Stacie McChesney / TED

The best inspiration comes from seeing real-life examples in action. With that in mind, we gathered this collection of social venture pitch videos to show that there are many styles and approaches to deliver a pitch that leaves an impression.

These spotlighted pitches hail from world-famous stages, like the Hult Prize competition where $1,000,000 is awarded to student-led disruptive social enterprises, to smaller gatherings for accelerator program ‘demo days.’

From local grassroots projects to global tech-enabled innovations, these social entrepreneurs represent a range of causes, business models, and legal structures and can help get the inspiration flowing for your pitch.

Aspire

Presenter: Shobhita Soor and Mohammad Ashour

Event: Hult Prize 2013 (winner)

Length: 10 minutes

Aspire combines technology and tradition to address food security through the farming and eating of insects in Ghana and the United States. In 2013, Aspire won $1,000,000 from the Hult Prize to scale the initiative.

Highlight

The slides are well-designed to complement the information presented. Pyramid graphics help illustrate the levels of challenges with food security and the size of the market. Simple graphics show the ‘Aspire Way’ insect farming process.  

The presentation team draws listeners in by introducing them to one of their customers, Julietta. The potential for impact is undeniable with the explanation of how the same food budget allows Julietta to purchase three times more insect protein for her family, and makes the idea of insect farming more relatable.

With 1 million dollars on the line, the Hult Prize comes with high stakes. The Aspire team drew a clear connection between planned use of funds to scale impact, showing how the money would empower 38,500 and bring 21 million slum residents food security and lower prices.

Branch Out Foundation

Presenter: Crystal Philips

Event: Social Venture Partners Fastpitch 2014

Length: 3:11 minutes

By funding innovative research, Branch Out Foundation accelerates technology solutions and non-pharmaceutical approaches in pursuit of a world free from neurological disorders.

Highlight

Crystal seamlessly weaves her personal story into this pitch and leaves no doubt in the minds of listeners why she is so committed to this work. She vividly describes how her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease with no cure, crushed her childhood dream to speed skate in the Olympics.

Following Crystal’s experience going against a recommended drug treatment plan, instead relying on 100% natural treatment with great success, is an emotional illustration of the problem and the need Branch Out Foundation aims to fill.

Energaia

Presenter: Saumil Shah

Event: Fish 2.0 2017 Competition (Southeast Asia track winner)

Length: 3:45 minutes + Q&A

With a focus on sustainable farming and the reduction of greenhouse gases, Energaia produces products using spirulina algae as the main ingredient.

Highlight

Saumil’s pitch does an excellent job describing in clear terms how their solution stands apart from alternatives in both production (with patented closed tank innovation that prevents airborne contamination) and the end product (by producing functional food products like pasta, ice cream, and hummus, rather than simply tablets or supplements).

In addition to overall food security, Saumil explains how Energaia’s business model is designed to increase the economic prosperity of farmers. Farmers benefit from subsistence farming plus have the ability to triple income while keeping other employment.

Saumil concludes the pitch with a bold statement about the future vision for spirulina to be a 20 million ton commodity by 2050 to help feed the world. He makes it clear how impact investors are critical to helping achieve this goal.

Evrnu

Presenters: Stacy Flynn

Event: Fledge Conscious Accelerator Demo Day

Length: 5:23 minutes

Evrnu has invented regenerative fiber technology that recycles old clothing into fiber used in the making of new textiles for a variety of applications.

Highlight

Stacy’s pitch leverages physical props as she describes the problems faced in the textile industry (12 million tons of garment waste in the US alone each year) and later when she introduces Evrnu’s recycled fiber innovation. Showing their innovation helps demonstrate progress to date and piques the audience’s attention.

Stacy highlights the specific experience of the team and adds credibility by showing several large brands with whom team members have worked in the past. She describes how the team applied a multi-disciplinary lens (combining science, ecology, and fashion) to find a way to contain waste to this supply chain with a new textile that doesn’t compromise cost or quality.

The pitch concludes with an invitation to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign.

Joelex

Presenters: Joel Ssimbwa

Event: Fledge Conscious Accelerator Demo Day

Length: 3:47 minutes

Joelex provides accessible and affordable toilets and showers in Kampala, Uganda, where typically one facility serves between 100 and 1000 residents per day.

Highlight

Joel presents Joelex’s revenue model in simple and clear terms. Building on his explanation, Joel concludes with a concrete ask for $100,000 and links it directly to the company’s impact. He articulates well how funding at this stage will leverage their ability to scale much faster in the future.

Khyeti

Presenters: Kaushik K + Saumya Sahay

Event: Global Social Venture Competition 2017 (1st place winner)

Length: 9:35 + Q&A

Khyeti’s first technology solution is a “Greenhouse-in-a-box”. This innovation protects small farmers from weather events and pests with the goal of increasing crop yield and income. The modular greenhouses come with end-to-end support to improve effectiveness.

Highlight

Saumya is a co-founder of Khyeti along with Kaushik, who is CEO and also an Acumen Fellow. After opening the pitch with their vision to ‘help 5 million people break the cycle of poverty by 2025’, Kaushik and Saumya introduce us to Reshma.

Reshma is a farmer in South India whose crops are compromised due to unseasonal rain and excess heat, even though she’s enthusiastic and works hard. Kaushik and Saumya explain that the problem faced by farmers like Reshma is that hard work doesn’t pay off. Motivated to find a solution to Reshma’s farming challenges, the pair describes how they designed the ‘Greenhouse-in-a-box’ solution after speaking with 1000 farmers.

From start to finish, the pitch weaves Reshma’s story in between statements demonstrating need (90% of farmers don’t want their kids to get into farming), strong financials (currently raising $250k with $200k already committed), and market validation (15 paying farmers are already signed up and 35 more are in the pipeline).

Lab4U

Presenter: Komal Dadlani

Event: ASU Global Silicon Valley Summit

Length: 7:16 minutes

Lab4U is changing the way science is taught by transforming phones and tablets into pocket science labs to empower students and teachers to learn physics and chemistry.

Highlight

Komal opens the pitch with an analogy about riding bikes; kids don’t learn to ride by reading a textbook. The only way to learn is to experience it, and the same is true for scientific experiments. She goes on to explain the hurdles students face with regards to access to science labs and equipment.

With the problem established, Lab4U enters as the innovative solution. Lab4U’s impact is demonstrated in the pitch with videos of students conducting physics and chemistry experiments in the classroom and reinforced with statistics about the number of students and schools impacted.

Musana

Presenters: Manon Lavaud, Nataliey Bitature, and Keisuke

Event: Hult Prize 2016 (finalist)

Length: 6 minutes + Q&A

Musana sells street vending carts that provide clean energy and business support to micro-businesses operating in the informal economy in Kampala, Uganda.

Highlight

Nataliey opens this pitch with a memorable statement: “Tonight I’ve brought each of you a rolex. Not the watches from Switzerland but the fastest growing street food in Africa… It’s also how we’re going to double the income of a million people.”

The presentation includes simple but effective visuals that demonstrate how Musana’s innovations will resolve common street cart problems. The team explains how their revenue model incorporates ad revenue and cart financing, allowing Musana to sustain and grow their reach and vendors to own their carts outright within one year.

The pitch concludes with a breakdown of the considerable ask for one million dollars in prize funding. The team explains how this funding will allow them to grow their team on the ground, manufacture the first one thousand carts and reach 60,000 people in East Africa over the next three years.

Numida

Presenter: Mina Shahid

Event: 2019 GSBI Accelerator at Santa Clara University

Length: 5:45 minutes

Numida helps African entrepreneurs turn their subsistence businesses into growth businesses through the digitization of paper records with a mobile app and with access to capital. The social venture, co-founded by Acumen Global Fellow, Mina Shahid, is based in Kampala, Uganda.

Highlight

This pitch centers around the story of one customer, Maria Kagere, who uses Numida to track how much she is making, outstanding receivables, and which products sell the best.

Numida then uses all of this data to give customers like Maria a credit score and provide unsecured working capital loans. These loans fill a critical gap for small business owners who do not have assets to secure other microfinancing. Mina shares that Maria has already used the app to secure ten loans and increase her credit limit from $20 to $630.

Mina shares statistics to validate the track record of both the company and the impact it’s having on customers like Maria. So far, Numida has served 376 small businesses, provided 205,000 in unsecured credit (with a repayment rate of 95%) and seen 400,000 transactions recorded in the app. Over that period, Maria’s small business experienced 200% growth in revenue and a 20% increase in personal income.

The pitch concludes with a clear ask of investors to participate in the 750,000 seed round Numida is raising to expand the loan portfolio, launch a new saving product, and reach 2500 new clients.

Sproutel

Presenters: Aaron Horowitz

Event: A New Way to Startup Pitch Competition

Length: 2:44

Sproutel produces playful products that provide companionship and education for children’s wellness. Their first products are Jerry the Bear, who helps kids with type 1 diabetes, and my Special Aflac Duck, who comforts kids with cancer.

Highlight

Aaron’s stage partner for this pitch is Jerry the Bear. In the first few sentences of the pitch, Aaron describes what the company does (makes health and wellness playful, what they produce (companions first for kids with diabetes, then later for kids with food allergies) and what they aspire to be (the Sesame Street for healthcare).

He then shares a personal story of experiencing chronic illness as a child; he was diagnosed with Human Growth Hormone Deficiency and had injections from middle school to high school. This clearly shows why Aaron is so passionate about designing impactful products for children with chronic illness.

Aaron makes it clear that Sproutel has confirmed product-market fit. He describes how they tested over 29 iterations with over 350 families before the first bears ever shipped. Aaron shares statistics to demonstrate impact in both outputs, reaching 4% children newly diagnosed received a bear, and outcomes, after six-months kids continued playing with their companions over an hour a week.

The Plus Me Project

Presenter: Richard Reyes

Event: Social Venture Partners Fastpitch 2018 (semifinalist)

Length: 3 minutes

The mission of the Plus Me Project is to inspire students by sharing personal narratives and encourage students to discover their potential by doing the same.

Highlight

Richard’s passion for The Plus Me Project comes through in his energy and presence on stage.

The pitch opens with a personal story about the time when Richard discovered that none of his family members were college graduates. Although this knowledge left doubt about his likelihood of succeeding, he persevered and became the first in his family to graduate from college.

It was through sharing this story at a high school that Richard realized how much of a difference it makes to students hearing from adults who have been through similar obstacles growing up and made it through college.

The impact of the Plus Me Project is reinforced throughout the pitch as Richard speaks about the first student who came up to him remarking how similar their experiences were growing up. This student, Jason, was inspired to learn how Richard’s success as an adult was not deterred by this and later we learn how Jason used his Plus Me Project experience to get into UCLA.

Richard finishes the presentation with a variety of ways audience members can get involved and support their work, including the call to volunteer, fund a program, or invite the Plus Me Project to speak at a school.

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