Unreasonable Institute 2011 | Maria Rodriguez

I’m sure many of you will remember our interview with Maria Rodriguez (Byoearth) back in October. Well, I just received word that she is a finalist in yet another entrepreneurship competition (as you may recall, she got her start with Byoearth when she won a business plan competition in 2006) – and she needs our help!

The organization behind this particular competition is called the “Unreasonable Institute”, and as their name implies, they are focused on helping “unreasonable” (bold, unique, “outside the box” etc) social/environmental entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

Here are some blurbs from the press release:

The Unreasonable Institute Empowers the Public to Choose the
Next Wave of High-Impact Social Entrepreneurs

Global donations will determine which entrepreneurs gain admission to esteemed mentorship program

BOULDER, Colo. –– Starting Jan. 20, 45 social entrepreneurs will showcase their ventures in an online platform called the Unreasonable Finalist Marketplace (http://marketplace.unreasonableinstitute.org/). For 50 days, people from around the world are invited to vote with their wallets on the most viable ventures. The first 25 of the 45 finalists to raise $8,000 in the Marketplace will earn access to the highly acclaimed six-week mentorship program at the Unreasonable Institute. At the Institute, these social entrepreneurs undergo rigorous training sessions, including personal and entrepreneurial skill development, intensive workshops and hands-on guidance from leading thought leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.

The 45 finalists were selected from more than 300 applicants in 60 countries. Each applicant had to present a financially self-sustaining venture that has the ability to scale to serve the needs of at least 1 million people and demonstrates customer validation through sales or pilots. The finalists this year include a Chinese engineer with a prototype for waterless composting toilets; a 2010 CNN Hero from Kenya who has distributed over 10,000 solar lanterns; and an American inventor with a water purification system that can roll up to the size of a ruler.
“A huge part of being a truly exceptional entrepreneur is to be able to rally excitement and support for your idea,” said Daniel Epstein, founding president of the Unreasonable Institute. “The Marketplace tests these entrepreneurs’ ability to do just that and, in the form of public support garnered, offers a real-time measure of success.”

The 25 winning entrepreneurs become Unreasonable Fellows and, during the mentor program, will learn from, work alongside, and live with 60 mentors from a range of industries including venture capital, international development, social enterprise and marketing. Among the exceptional mentors and partners are Greg Miller, cofounder of Google.org; David Bornstein, author of “How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas”; Libby Cook, co?founder of Wild Oats; Tom Reilly, head of TED Fellows; and Bob Pattillo, founder of Gray Ghost Capital and First Light Ventures. In addition, the entrepreneurs will have a chance to build relationships with 30 globally recognized impact investment funds, such as Acumen Fund, Good Capital and Echoing Green, and pitch prospective investors. Last year, 60 percent of the Unreasonable Fellows seeking funding received capital for their ventures shortly after the end of the Institute.

You can make a donation here: http://marketplace.unreasonableinstitute.org/ventures/view/31/Byoearth

Let’s show a fellow vermicomposter our support by donating and/or helping to spread the word!

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    • Mark from Roswell
    • January 20, 2011

    I’m in…

    • Heather Rinaldi
    • January 21, 2011

    Awesome! A worm bin in every home. Good Luck, Maria!

  1. Hello!!! thank you! Lets hope we can make it. Im sure the world needs a lesson from worms. We have been able to empower women and communities in slum and rural areas from Guatemala. Thank you for your support!

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