Seed Spot is an amazing organization based in Phoenix, AZ. Their core mission is to help social entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. They provide assistance in everything from networking, product development, and raising capital for a product or idea. Please follow them and spread the word about Seed Spot and the work they are doing with social entrepreneurs.
Lets first talk about SEED SPOT and its origin. How did the idea come about?
The idea started based on personal experience. I was a student entrepreneur when I was a senior in college at Arizona State University. I was accepted into their incubator program and started an organization that later evolved into New Global Citizens through a merger. (www.newglobalcitizens.org).
The growth of the organization was due in large part to a community of mentors that helped advise me on a whole bunch of stuff that I didn’t know. When I transitioned to the Board of Directors for that organization, I wondered where other people were going to find a community to support their ideas. Specifically, I was interested in social entrepreneurs, those that had an idea that improved the human condition or the community at large. So in 2012, I decided to build a community that would support social entrepreneurs and give them the tools and resources they needed to scale their ideas.
So all someone needs when they walk into SEED SPOT is an idea? An idea that will support society in a positive way? From there, SEED SPOT approves of this idea and helps him/her gain capital and structure to build the company?
Entrepreneurs that apply to SEED SPOT go through a competitive application process and we select about 15 entrepreneurs every 6 months to work with. From there, they go through a formal curriculum based training program to help fine tune their idea, build the plan to scale, and secure the capital they need to bring it to life. We provide them with office space, a network of mentors, and access to industry experts in a variety of industries (legal, accounting, capital raising, etc).
Tell us about the process of getting the B-Corp legislation passed. How difficult was it to accomplish and do all SEED SPOT ventures now carry the B-CORP title?
The Benefit Corporation legislation was passed in 2013 but will not take effect in Arizona until January 2015. Over the next 6 months, we will host training’s to help people understand the process of becoming a Benefit Corporation. We are incredibly proud to be among the 24 states that have now adopted the legislation. It is a growing national movement for sure!
How does SEED SPOT and KIVA work together?
We have a really incredible partnership with KIVA. We are able to authorize loans to SEED SPOT entrepreneurs up to $10,000 at zero percent interest.
What do you look for in a successful applicant, what can put a applicant over the edge and be accepted at SEED SPOT?
First and foremost, we look for the right passion and vision within the entrepreneur. We want to be sure they have what it takes to bring an idea to life. The path by which they reach their goals might change several times – but we are investing in the individual entrepreneur that will make something work regardless of how many roadblocks they hit.
Has SEED SPOT developed in what you thought it would be or has it acceded your expectations?
In many ways, it has far exceeded my expectations. Namely because of the work of our Alumni and everything that they continue to do to push their ventures forward. Being an entrepreneur is hard. I get inspired when a venture calls at 10pm on a Sunday night and wants to run through a new idea or talk through a challenging problem. The fact that they are grinding it out at 10pm on a Sunday is what wakes me up at 5am on Monday morning to continue supporting them.
Is there any thought to expanding SEED SPOT to different cities in the future?
You know, we have fielded interest from 12 cities across the country. Some more serious than others. This summer, we are considering what an expansion model might look like. We are certainly open to the idea of providing our model to other cities that can benefit from it. We have built an incredible community in Phoenix and the idea of helping other cities do the same is super inspiring.