By Allison Pennington, Communications Intern, Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
On Tuesday, September 29, 2015, Wake Forest University’s Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship and North Carolina State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues co-hosted the Winston-Salem Discovery Forum, an event designed to allow young social entrepreneurs to pitch ideas or present existing ventures that support community or economic improvement in North Carolina. The Forum’s mission is to develop the leadership potential of young adults in North Carolina who share a strong interest in social entrepreneurship. Winston-Salem’s forum was one of six that are being held state-wide, all sponsored by BB&T.
Ten teams were given the opportunity to present a five minute pitch to the audience. Participants included Wake Forest undergraduates, Wake Forest graduate students, and other young entrepreneurs in the local community.
Saving Lives with Community, Connection, and Silver Linings by Kelly Guin
Convenient Printing for a Cause by Mason Halpern & Hunter Artz
Blank Space Project by Jessica Wilson & Ucha David
Pie by Pierre Duncan
No Bad Apple by Jake Teitelbaum
GlobeTrotter by Samantha Larsen
Katch-Up! By Phillip Weinstein
Uniting as One for All by Rayce Lamb
Strike: Rekindling the Fire by Richard Caban-Cubero
Captivism by Matthew Williams & Julian Gilyard
After the presentations, audience members were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite three presenters. The overall top three presenters were invited to a Leadership Symposium in Raleigh in spring 2016 for leadership development training and the chance to compete for a $10,000 venture prize.
Blank Space Project, one of the night’s three winners, is a small social organization that works to connect community partners to one another. Blank Space Project was founded by Jessica Wilson and Ucha David, young social entrepreneurs in the Winston-Salem community. Blank Space Project has taken on several projects in Winston-Salem’s Boston Thurmond neighborhood in the past, including “Kimberley’s Kids,” a park for local children, the development of several outdoor learning spaces, and the development of community seed libraries. Blank Space Project is currently working to create a safer bus stop in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood.
Strike: Rekindling the Fire, another of the night’s top three winners, is an emerging idea that allows Wake Forest students to “break the bubble” and become involved in the Winston-Salem community. Richard Caban-Cubero (’17), who pitched this idea, explained that he strongly believes in the importance of mobilizing students to take action in their local communities. Strike will provide training to help students learn about social problems and organize in response. Caban-Cubero went on to explain that Strike is for both Wake Forest students and Winston-Salem community members. He hopes to increase community involvement and build relationships with local Winston-Salem philanthropies through Strike.
Captivism, the third and final winner of the night, is a crowd funding site designed to help community organizers. The site, which was developed by Matthew Williams, a Wake Forest staff member in the Office of Personal and Career Development, and Julian Gilyard, is designed as a tool for the next generation of change-agents. While there are already many crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter, Captivism is the only site designed solely for social justice organizations and projects.
For more information about the Discovery Forum 2015, click here.