On Thursday, October 25th, 10 Tampa Bay non-profits lined up in the wings of The Palladium in downtown St. Petersburg awaiting their turn at 3 minutes to share their stories on how they’re making Tampa Bay a better place to live, work, and play and a chance at a slice of $60,000 in cash prizes.
Social Venture Partners Tampa Bay, a local chapter of SVP International is a group of engaged philanthropists which aims to help non-profits develop long-term sustainable business models, by connecting, collaborating, and mentoring local organizations. After being chosen from an applicant pool of over 50 Tampa Bay non-profits, the organizations participated in a rigorous 6-week business accelerator class developed and led by some of Tampa Bay's top educators and business professionals.
In the 6 weeks, each organization was led through lessons on operations, marketing, finance, legal, and the art of storytelling. Each group worked with a partner or mentor to develop a 3-minute pitch detailing the mission of their organization as well as the social enterprise that helps fund their programs. They worked hard, they practiced their pitches and the hard work and dedication to their causes lit up the audience at the 2nd annual Fast Pitch event.
This year the ten organizations pitched their stories to an audience of over 400 at The Palladium in St. Petersburg, as well as to a panel of 5 judges, which included Joe Hamilton, Lakshmi Shenoy, Gentry Byrnes, Nikkie Capehart, & Rochelle Freidman Walk. After the 3 minutes, judges had 4 minutes to question each group.The questions were insightful and thought-provoking and enabled the groups to lay out plans to scale or how they operate. This year’s crowd was engaged and lively as they joined in audience voting as well as live “text to donate” options enabling them all to donate from their phones to the organizations right from the audience.
This year taking home first place of $25,000 was Shepherd’s Village, second place and $15,000 went to Sewn Apart, and the third place winner of $10,000 was Indi-Ed. Audience choice award went to Sailfuture, and this year a new award is given to a part participant of Fast Pitch, alumni impact award of $5,000 was awarded to Keep St. Pete Lit.