In this edition of The Social Pitch, we have five incredibly talented social entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds tackling an array of issues in innovative and creative ways. The projects address a spectrum of challenges, from under-employment in Portland to the waste created by consumerism to the need for environmentally-friendly livestock feed. We’re really excited to have these folks in our TSP program, and we can’t wait to see them pitch on Sunday, August 7.

Here’s how it works: after presenters pitch their projects, the audience will vote and the votes will be tallied. Each finalist will select one of the five available prizes, (two cash prizes, a marketing prize, a legal prize, and a design prize) in the order in which they were voted for.  Please purchase a $15 ticket here (all ticket proceeds go to funding the cash prizes) and join us at 2pm, on August 7.

Here are the biographies of the five finalists and summaries for their projects:


Ground Up PDX by Julie Sullivan and Carolyn Cesario

Ground Up PDX Project Summary:

Ground Up PDX is a Portland-based social enterprise that will employ local women transitioning out of homelessness through the production and sales of delicious and nutritious nut butters, as a means of helping them get back on their feet. Through professional training and on-the-job mentoring, these women will gain the confidence and skills they need to transition into their next job and phase of life. By giving these women marketable skills, our goal is that they can realize their full potential, and ultimately find opportunity to get their life back in order. Women will work with us for 6-9 months and then transition into full-time employment at Portland-area businesses.

Julie and Carolyn’s Bio:

Julie recently returned from Uganda, where she was overseeing production for 31 Bits Designs, a company that employs women overcoming poverty.  She developed and implemented an employment training program for women in Uganda, igniting a passion. After witnessing the success of this model of empowerment, she sees the opportunity (and need) to implement a similar program in her home community of Portland. Julie has a degree in Sociology and Business from Whitworth University.  Carolyn has been making and selling nut butters for years to friends and family, and has been perfecting her unique recipe. After developing a passion for nutrition and wellness through dealing with her own health issues, she began to notice a gap in the marketplace for nut butters made with simple ingredients, original flavorings, and without the addition of sugar, peanuts and other additives. Carolyn has a business degree from Babson and a full-time job in online marketing.  Julie and Carolyn came together and quickly realized that their passions and skills aligned well which led to the founding of Ground Up PDX!


Clean Feed by Omission PDX
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Clean Feed Project Summary:

Clean Feed is a for-profit social enterprise working to develop insect-based animal feed. Using insects to replace soy-protein currently used in livestock feed will be more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. By entering the market at the level of urban chicken farmers in Portland, we can test the viability and scalability of the project, with a potential goal of having a significant impact on the animal feed market.

Omission PDX Bio:

Omission PDX is: Justin Chi, Genevieve London, Carolyn Niehaus, Anthony Palmer, and Whitney Winsor. We are a team of MBA students from Portland State University who are working to create an insect-based animal feed. Collectively, we have diverse educational and work experiences with startups, nonprofits, social investing, management, performing arts, educational programming, and communications. Our team looks to utilize backgrounds in engineering, scientific research, environmental studies, and farming to propel this project toward market competitiveness while maintaining a strong focus on sustainability. Together, we are excited to create a better world through environmental and social impact projects.

Design:Shelter by David Bikman


Design:Shelter Summary:

Design:Shelter is a social enterprise in the form of a public interest design competition, to be held in Portland in 2017, with cash prizes rewarding templates and prototypes of physical goods intended for use by Americans experiencing homelessness. Contestants will be asked to rely on materials that are freely available from the industrial waste stream and that can be safely and efficiently upcycled. This could include shipping pallets, paper-based packaging materials, factory seconds, commercial samples, and post-consumer waste. The competition will result in a library of production templates for goods in four categories: 1) Personal Storage; 2) Enhancing Emergency Shelter; 3) Furnishing the Tiny Home, and 4) Building Community Spaces.  The larger goal of the project is to make more basic household goods and simple solutions for shelter available to the houseless by taking advantage of the massive amounts of industrial waste produced in this country. The project’s immediate goal is to inspire local designers to create simple methods for upcycling industrial and post-consumer waste into goods intended to meet the needs of the houseless, itinerant, and partially-sheltered.

David Bikman’s Bio: David Bikman comes from a long line of savers and creative re-users. From his grandfather’s emergency missions rescuing discarded library books before they were pulped, to childhood summers spent operating resale markets and garage sales, David was taught to spot value in things that others might dismiss. In 2011, he started UpCycle Studios based on the principle that our discarded industrial and post-consumer waste hides an enormous amount of economic value, much of which can be accessed with a small amount of organized and creative labor. David earned a B.S. in Economics and completed graduate coursework in public administration and nonprofit management at Portland State University.


Barter Market by Andrea Lim
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Barter Market Summary:

The Barter Market mimics a conventional street market, but one where transactions are done purely through exchanging goods and services. Vendors list goods or services they desire in exchange for what they have on offer. Some will be posted online in advance of the event but attendees can also negotiate with individual vendors. Any offer of money will be immediately refused. Barter Market is a social initiative to connect local makers and skilled individuals and to encourage a radical way of thinking – where money ceases to be currency and trade happens through interpersonal connections and communication. “In a society largely governed by capitalist ideals, Barter Market aims to show the implied status of money as a man-made social construct. It affirms the idea that each individual has desirable skills that should not have to be pegged to a dollar value. Portland has a huge community of makers who may not have the opportunity or desire to price and sell their wares, and others who do but have a deeper appreciation for the values behind this concept. Barter Market provides a novel platform for such makers to share their goods with a larger audience and an efficient means of directly acquiring desired products or services in return, cutting out ‘cash’ as the middle man.

Andrea Lim’s Bio:

Originally from Singapore, Andrea moved to Portland, Oregon to study Economics at Reed College. Her time in Cairo and Alaska made her realize that you don’t need cash all the time when you just have good vibes and some stuff to trade. She’s working to start a Barter Market in Portland after experiencing a similar market in Singapore, because it really is simply about building community.”


Sincere Global by Andrew Ferlitsch
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Sincere Global Summary:

Sincere Global is independent news reporting organization in Yemen, which is in the midst of civil war.  All our volunteers/correspondents are former journalists living in cities under siege, occupation or in armed conflict. They report on humanitarian conditions, do street level (building to building) damage to residential districts, hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure. They provide photographic evidence of damage and remnants of missiles/shells/rockets, and interview local residents. All the information is placed into databases which can be used subsequently by journalists, NGOs, and the UN. These correspondents enter into areas after missile strikes, shelling, sniping or urban conflict. They may be hiding in plain sight, cross militia checkpoints – sometimes of alternating sides, and other times make ‘access payments’ to local militia commanders.

Andrew Ferlitsch’s Bio: I am a research scientist specializing in areas that include open data, big data and geospatial technologies. I am listed as an inventor on 113 US issued patents. I’ve been active since early in my career in open source/crow source projects, volunteering in incubators, advising early stage startups, and more recently micro-incubating projects in Africa and Asia. In May 2015, I became involved in NGO/humanitarian projects in zones of the world in armed conflict. Currently, I volunteer my time overseeing a humanitarian/non-political NGO operation in Yemen, which is engulfed in widespread societal armed violence, involving militias, former and current presidents, divided armed forces, regional powers and AQAP/ISIS. The UN describes the situation in Yemen as dire, with 80% of the population of 24 million at or near famine conditions, as result of the societal armed violence.