Since Shark Tank Australia (and before that, Shark Tank US and Dragons Den UK) launched on our screens, we’ve seen a corresponding rise in the popularity and prevelance of pitch events, both in the mainstream startup and social enterprise sectors.
It’s easy to see the appeal. An entrepreneur stands, brave and alone, in front of a live audience, pouring out their heart and sharing their dream, hoping to inspire first hope, then confidence, and ultimately investment from the audience or judging panel.
It’s great entertainment, and a wonderful way to hear a group of ideas in a short period of time. For the entrepreneur, it’s the ultimate test: can you explain your idea with enough clarity and confidence that those in the room buy in and want to be part of your vision? As emerging entrepreneurs the greatest challenge is simply to grab anyone’s attention. The world is very busy and very noisy, and most ideas fail without anyone ever really noticing they existed.
So the chance to get in front of a focused, interested audience is a wonderful opportunity. You should take every opportunity you can get to tell your story in such a setting.
But for all their recent popularity, most pitch events feel a bit old-school. They are from a time pre-digital, where stories stayed in the room they were told in, and power is neatly divided between those that really matter (the judges) and the rest of us (the audience). They seek to engage our wallets, but ignore our other great asset today, our social networks and ability to share stories that inspire us.
Pitch for Good changes that.
Instead of being contained inside the room Pitch for Good uses that live event as the launch of crowdfunding campaigns for the featured social enterprises. Instead of giving all the decision-making power to a panel of judges, Pitch for Good empowers everyone in the audience to select amongst the ideas being presented, and to not only support their favourite on the night but to share it with their wider networks.
This on-and off-line combination also helps enterprises overcome the greatest challenge in crowdfunding – how to get the early traction which validates your idea and carries your story far enough to succeed.
Featured Pitch for Good enterprises get the best of both worlds: the chance to share their story to a focused audience in an intimate live setting AND the opportunity for those in the audience to then share that story with their wider networks, and for the funds raised on the night to be an impetus for that wider community to also donate over the course of the crowdfunding campaigns.
Pitch for Good is an initiative of social good crowdfunding platform StartSomeGood which has been held in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. In partnership with the City of Parramatta Pitch for Good is returning to The Riverside Theatre in Parramatta in October. A diverse group from the local community will be invited to the event, which will feature 4-5 local social entrepreneurs with great new social enterprise ideas to make a better Parramatta. As a bonus, funds raised on the night will be matched by the City of Parramatta.
Last year enterprises presented included pottery arts, a shared reading centre, an incubator for refugee and migrant entrepreneurs, an online toy shop and a Bollywood dancing school. We can’t wait to see what we’ll get this year!
So if you have an idea for a social enterprise in Parramatta, apply today! Applications close on Monday September 4.
Lucy Brotherton is implementing a social investment action plan for Parramatta City Council. She is a passionate advocate of the power of social investment to reframe thinking, promote creative partnerships and find innovative and sustainable solutions to complex issues.