Live Crowdfunding Event will BOOST Chicagoland Entrepreneurs

There are many great ideas out there to promote Chicago’s green economy. But the social entrepreneurs behind them are often overlooked by investors focused solely on financial concerns. Why can’t these startup ideas—with the potential to create an organization that improves the planet along with the economy—get seed funding?

boost-postcard-2016-1With BOOST (Building Opportunities for Original and Sustainable Thinking), they can. The live, crowdfunding event in support of Chicago-area sustainability innovations will put on its fifth annual funding night. Audience members provide the available capital through their ticket purchases; at the event, they then vote to determine which innovators will receive funding. This approach engages an often overlooked stakeholder in any business venture: the local community.

“This community-driven approach to financing social ventures overcomes a funding barrier for local entrepreneurs and engages hundreds of people to directly invest in the future of Chicago,” said Delta Institute CEO Bill Schleizer. “We’re proud to support the Delta Emerging Leaders in this important work.” BOOST is organized by the Delta Emerging Leaders, associate board of the Chicago nonprofit Delta Institute.

Two winning entrepreneurs will split the BOOST pot; in addition to funding, BOOST 2016 grant recipients will also receive a selection of in-kind services from local business sponsors. Past BOOST recipients include Sojourn Fare, an urban mushroom farm that uses waste material like spent grain, coffee grounds, sawdust, and hulled soybeans to grow high-quality, chemical-free mushrooms and Urban Canopy, an organization that demonstrates how the urban agriculture movement can help create a more sustainable and equitable food system.

This year’s finalists will present their ideas at the funding night on November 16th, at the Chop Shop in Wicker Park. Finalists include:

  • Resketch. This manufacturer reduces waste by taking usable paper destined for recycling centers or landfills and instead turning out interesting sketchbooks and notepads.
  • Bike a Bee. This urban farming initiative provides hives to community gardens where they serve as educational tools and public examples of the magic of pollinators.
  • PBR (Personal Bike Routing). This iPhone app helps bike riders find safer, quieter routes through residential areas, helping bikers eschew the busy streets where most collisions happen.
  • Touch Light Innovations. This tech company seeks to harvest ambient energy; their flagship product is a device that can be installed in the ground to generate power from the steps of passing pedestrians.

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