Submitted by kevin on

By Calvin Shabb

The pool of applicants to this year’s Social Innovation Fast Pitch Competition (SIFP) was strong and each one of the quarter-finalists presented a great story.  Unfortunately, as a young, non-profit, social venture ourselves, our funding limits the number of applicants who can advance to the finals.  And that means even well deserving applicants are eliminated. 

In this six-part series we’ll explore the quarter-finalists, their stories, and highlight some of the most innovative concepts for efficiently impacting social and environmental change in the Seattle area.

Thrive is a for-profit health and fitness tech startup founded by Damon Gjording and Dr. Michael Myint. There are an estimated 77 million active healthy lifestyle consumers in the U.S., and by 2017 there will be more than 440 million health and fitness apps and devices. The founders saw a problem in assessing individuals’ health: not being able to sync health and fitness devices and not knowing their overall health status. Thrive seamlessly syncs data from user’s devices, provides personalized recommendations for improving user’s health, and finally engage users to actively improve their health.  A healthier lifestyle made easy.

Washington Center for Nursing (WCN) is a young non-profit founded by Christine Epina. Its goal is to support under-represented nursing students complete their studies. Washington’s current workforce does not reflect its diverse population, where research shows under-represented communities receive more care. WCN’s mission is to ensure there is an adequate nursing workforce to meet current and future health care needs of our population.  To ensure equal care, WCN is working on a pilot program that includes needs assessments, a mentor network, and custom designed strategies. WCN’s effort to support students has the potential to improve quality and access to health care for under-represented communities throughout Washington.

The Wilderness Survival School’s (WSS) core philosophy is to improve children’s health and well-being by getting them to play outside . The world of entertainment media is causing a sharp increase in child obesity, anxiety, and depression. Founded nearly 30 years ago, WSS is tackling these problems by launching innovative health and afterschool programs. WSS is currently building on partnerships with PlayWorks and Treeswing. Under the direction of Executive Director Warren Moon the school, WSS has a model to roll out to the rest of Washington State and beyond. Its newest project is Northwest Recess 360, where WSS and partners will provide training sessions to instruct teachers and parents to manage recess, classrooms, and home life. WSS is ready to help thousands more kids get outside and play. 

Calvin Shabb is a volunteer blogger. He is interested in accelerators and how they challenge entrepreneurs to step back and think critically about their ventures. He has a degree in public policy, and has worked in Nicaragua with another accelerator program run by Agora Partnerships. He has a chronic disease: wanderlust.