FMYI President Justin Yuen speaks at Portland State University

As an entrepreneur or intrapreneur, you have a passion for solving a problem. And to be successful with your solution, you need a “village” around you to help (colleagues, advisors, customers, vendors, investors, family, friends, and more).

For social entrepreneurs, they’re addressing an opportunity that has a triple bottom line impact (people, planet, and profit). Last Friday, I attended Portland State University’s Social Innovation Incubator‘s Elevator Pitch Fest event. Judging from the record breaking turnout of 200 people, the “village” is alive and well to support social innovation in Portland.

Five companies (Bright NeighborCascadia ExperienceElkartiJunk to Funk, and Meditation Momma) did their pitches to get feedback from the esteemed panel of judges (Adam ReidAmelia PapeIrving LevinShelley Gunton), with an audience vote determining the winner of a $1,000 cash prize.

FMYI had the honor of being the event sponsor as part of our commitment to people and the planet, and as a certified B Corporation. I was of course excited that everyone received free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream served by New Avenues for Youth- it was hard to resist the temptation to have more than one scoop!

Major kudos to Portland State University and Cindy Cooper for their leadership in bringing together such an innovative program helping social entrepreneurs with realizing their dreams. To get a sense of the impact their program is having, here’s an emotional video of Ahmed Abidine accepting the Audience Award on behalf of his company Elkarti which markets and produces beautifully handcrafted leather accessories to create employment in his home country of Morocco:

Onward and upward,