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AZ Tech Beat | December 12, 2019

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Seed Spot expanding social impact platform to US

Seed Spot expanding social impact platform to US
Tishin Donkersley

Seed Spot, a social impact incubator, has announced plans to expand their entrepreneurship program nationally, even internationally, in the years ahead. Cities such as San Diego, Boise, and even Warsaw have expressed interest in bringing the Seed Spot model to their city and building out a socially conscious startup ecosystem.

Courtney Klein, co-founder Seed Spot, said, “We know there are dozens of communities that are challenged by how to support their own local social entrepreneurs and retain them in their city; Seed Spot has proven its possible and we want to share our model with others.”

PHX Mayor Stanton & Courtney Klein

PHX Mayor Stanton & Courtney Klein

Seed Spot recently received a grant from the Kauffmann foundation for $330,000 to help fuel these efforts. Since Seed Spot’s inception in 2012, the incubator has helped develop over 160 entrepreneurs; 88 percent of the companies are still in business and 97 percent have stayed in the state.

“This grant will help us build the infrastructure to document our model, design templates and toolkits for future cities, and implement support structures that will help cities launch and sustain support to social entrepreneurs.”

Seed Spot is in the process of building out a national team and backfilling their Phoenix team. Klein will be appointed CEO of Seed Spot at the national level and manage the national fundraising, partnership and strategic planning efforts.

Seed Spot is basing their expansion model on credible organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Teach for America and will standardize the content, curriculum, core values and mentorship program across each location. Each city will also have its own executive director, program director and operations manager as well as a local board that will be trained by Seed Spot national on a quarterly basis. The expectation is for each city to be self-sustaining and pay a fee to national for content, training and support.

“We know what it takes to run Seed Spot Phoenix,” C’pher Gresham, Director of Entrepreneur Initiative said. “We will be vetting future cities based on the level of entrepreneurial activity in the area and testing whether or not the new city can attract entrepreneurs, mentors, donors, board members, and staff talent to launch and run a Seed Spot in their city.”

As part of their national initiative, they are building out a Seed Spot Social Impact Fund. This fund will be able to invest in any Seed Spot startup regardless of location and take equity. The Seed Spot organization doesn’t take equity. The Impact Fund will provide an option for those entrepreneurs looking to raise capital and the financial returns will come back to support Seed Spot’s continued growth.

Seed Spot's latest cohort

Seed Spot’s latest cohort

“Launching Seed Spot in new locations will help us become knowledgeable about what works in each city and enable us to share lessons learned and innovative ideas across all Seed Spot locations in the future,” Gresham said.

The ultimate vision is to have a national Seed Spot Demo Day, Klein said, an event where entrepreneurs from across the country, and eventually from around the world, will showcase their ventures on a global stage.

“Last year, we dreamed of having a model that we felt confident we could scale. We also dreamed of securing support from the Kauffman Foundation to make it happen. So now, its go time!” Klein said.

Seed Spot has been recently named as one of the top 6 social impact incubators in the country by UBI Global, a thought leader in performance analysis of business incubation around the world.

Seed Spot Demo day coming December 10; RSVP here.

Learn more about Seed Spot here.

Read all of our extensive coverage about Seed Spot here.