Winners of the Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Competition showcase the business of nonprofits

Second annual contest awards $125,000 to the winners

Whoever thinks that non-profit organizations are more about doing good deeds than doing good business has never met the likes of this year’s Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition (SEIC) participants.

The winners of the second annual SEIC awards will be announced May 3, 2007. A total of $125,000 will be awarded to the nonprofit teams who have successfully proven that their ventures have social value and they have the ability to implement their plans. Leslie D. Michelson is the keynote speaker for the event. He is the founder, CEO, investor, advisor, and director for a portfolio of entrepreneurial healthcare, technology and real estate companies.

Over the last several weeks, more than 30 judges from throughout the St. Louis community have attended oral presentations and reviewed the full business plans the six finalist teams submitted. The SEIC Awards Ceremony is the culmination of eight months of workshops and events that helped spark innovation and creativity in the non-profit community.

This year’s competition has seen the addition of a new sponsor, in addition to the founding partners, the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and the YouthBridge Association. The Deaconess Foundation has stepped up to provide sponsorship for the event.

“Deaconess is a great addition to the collaboration of funders for the competition. Their knowledge and expertise add tremendous value to the teams and to efforts to build a community of social entrepreneurs,” said Ken Harrington, Managing Director for the Skandalaris Center.

Incarnate Word Foundation, a sponsor in the 2006 SEIC, is again providing a $30,000 grant to the non-profit team that presents a winning social enterprise idea aligning with their mission to support or create faith-based ministries that foster healthy lives, promote spiritual growth, and support the building blocks that create healthy communities.

“We are excited to see the growing momentum and interest shown by agencies and foundations from our community in the SEIC. This is a new concept for this space aimed at helping to reshape some of the traditional paradigms,” said Rex Reed, the Executive Director for Community Relations at YouthBridge Association.

Deaconess Foundation, a health foundation related to the United Church of Christ, is dedicated to the improved health of metropolitan St. Louis. A catalyst and advocate for community-based initiatives, the priority of Deaconess Foundation is to increase the well-being of vulnerable children in the urban core areas of the region. Today, Deaconess Foundation continues the long tradition of the Deaconess Sisters’ commitment to building a community that values highly the well-being of all children; that gives priority attention to the most vulnerable of its children; that is knowledgeable about the plight of its neediest children; and that supports organizations and programs committed to meeting the needs of all children.

The SEIC Awards Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on May 3 in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium on the Danforth Campus. The public is invited to attend this free event. For more information, visit