Monday, November 19, 2012

Accion San Diego Wins Third Place at San Diego Social Venture Partners Advance! San Diego Fast-Pitch Competition

November 19, 2012 - Accion San Diego, a nonprofit microlender offering business loans from $300 to $35,000, was awarded a $5,000 cash prize, plus in-kind services, for winning third place at the Advance! San Diego fast-pitch competition held Nov. 13 by San Diego Social Venture Partners. This event provided non-profit organizations with the opportunity to hone presentation skills, promote their impact and receive immediate cash awards, as well as ongoing business consultation.

Of the 85 local non-profits that applied to be a part of the competition, Accion San Diego was selected among 20 semifinalists to participate in a 2-day workshop on conveying their impact and distilling their unique stories into a compelling 180-second memorized pitch. Elizabeth Schott, executive director of Accion, was one of 10 non-profit finalists selected that delivered a pitch to a panel of judges. These organizations competed for more than $50,000 in cash prizes and in-kind services.

“Participating in Advance! San Diego was a wonderful experience,” shared Accion’s Schott. “We definitely received high-quality training, and it was inspiring to share with the other nonprofits in San Diego. This was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch our organization’s social impact to more than 300 attendees at the sold-out event.”

In Schott’s pitch, she requested a $250,000 grant from the audience to assist Accion in meeting the demand for loans from local start-ups and existing business owners. She noted the funds would enable the organization to double the number of loans made to local business owners, ultimately generating $6 million of economic activity for the San Diego region over the next two years.
Accion San Diego was also recently awarded the top-level four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest and most utilized charity evaluator. This award recognizes Accion San Diego as an exceptional nonprofit organization whose work exceeds industry standards and outperforms other charities in its category. Awards are based on the organization’s financial organization, efficiency and transparency.

Advance! San Diego was hosted by San Diego Social Venture Partners, a non-profit, philanthropic organization of 145 individuals whose mission is to advance positive social change in San Diego. Employing a strategic “venture philanthropy” model, SDSVP invests professional expertise and financial support to scale the growth and sustainability of highly effective nonprofit organizations. Since 2001, SDSVP has invested $2.1 million in cash and more than $11 million in partner expertise.

“SDSVP was thrilled to bring this first Advance! San Diego fast-pitch competition to the local non-profit community”, says Marty Goodman, SDSVP partner and co-chair of the competition. “The event showcased innovative and impactful non-profit organizations that were selected based on their ability to create significant social change and to powerfully communicate their visions. We hope that the skills they learned will continue to assist them in effectively advocating for future support for their organizations, ultimately making San Diego a better place to live.”

The event was sold out with an audience that consisted of investors, business owners, community leaders and the media. Other non-profit winners included Leap to Success and Second Chance, which respectively placed first and second. For more information about Advance! San Diego, visit

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