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The spirit of social entrepreneurship was on full display on Wednesday evening (May 2) in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. Fifteen venture teams of budding entrepreneurs displayed their wares and pitched their ideas to fellow students and alumni during LaunchHKS, sponsored by the Social Enterprise Club, the Office for Career Advancement (OCA), the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) and the Kennedy School Student Government (KSSG).
"We wanted to help demystify the start-up process and show other students and faculty that entrepreneurship can be a viable career path," said Rey Faustino MPP 2012, one of the event organizers. "This event gave us the opportunity to highlight the intersection between entrepreneurship and public service because we feel like our HKS training has given us some unique perspectives on how to tackle some of society's most pressing problems."
The teams represented at the event included:
Banned Together — Zachary Rosenfeld MPP 2012 – Banned Together plans to mobilize a wide audience through participatory media to raise awareness and money for the support of censored or at-risk musicians.
One Degree — Rey Faustino MPP 2012 – One Degree connects kids and families to poverty-fighting resources using a “Yelp for nonprofit and governmental services” and through volunteer-run resource desks in low-income schools.
BetaDater – Lauren Lyons MPP 2012 – BetaDater is a web and mobile service that allows daters to provide honest feedback to one another in order to improve their first date behaviors and maximize our second date potential.
ShoutAbout — Mat Morgan MPP 2013 – ShoutAbout gives users opportunities to learn more, and take action immediately, after being inspired by news coverage.
Blackwell Timepieces — Dan Futrell MPP 2012 – Blackwell Timepieces is a veteran-owned, American watch company that supports wounded combat veterans. For each watch purchased, Blackwell donates a dog to a service dog training program for wounded veterans, training dogs to provide balance, post-traumatic stress relief, hearing assistance and other life-improving tasks.
USAdelante — Sergio Marrero MPP/MBA 2014 – USAdelante is a national network of current and aspiring college leaders that support each other’s collective success.
CareerVibes — Yaniv Rivlin MPP 2012 – CareerVibes is the first career sharing community where people can share career experiences and learn from one another.
AppSuccess — David Shepard MPP 2012 & Miki Heller MPP/MBA 2013 – AppSuccess provides low-income students who are qualified to go to college with the means to get there, by guiding them through the college application and financial aid process via an interactive online platform.
Bounce Imaging — Francisco Aguilar MPP 2012, Stacy Tsai MPA 2012 & David Young, MIT Sloan – Bounce Imaging is developing the low-cost, easy-to-use tools that soldiers, firefighters and search and rescue workers need but current systems don’t deliver.
Instiglio — Michael Eddy MPA/ID 2012, Michael Belinsky MPP 2012 & Avnish Gungadurdoss MPA/ID 2012 – Instiglio enables developing country governments to more effectively protect their citizens against poverty, disease, crime and other afflictions. By leveraging private funds and nonprofit expertise in an innovative pay-for-success contract, Instiglio uses less costly prevent to save governments large treatment cost.
The Citizen Book – Prathima Manohar, Fellow, Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia – The Citizen Book is a digital citizen engagement platform that aims to empower citizens to build communities, solve issues, interact with other partners and share best practices.
OrganJet – Katharine Wolf MPA/ID 2012 – OrganJet provides end-to-end services, including timely and affordable air transport, for patients who are multi-listed or distant listed for organ transplants in the United States.
Veterans Business Owners Initiative — Tim Youmans MPA/MC 2012 – Youmans is working on the national scale-up of the Veterans Business Owners Initiative, an existing Boston nonprofit with zero funding and only voluntary, in-kind support.
Nuestra Communidad — Mark Truman MPP 2013 & Ray Rivera MPA/MC 2012– Focused on the underserved Westside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nuestra Communidad is a social capital development institution that builds vibrant communities through the expansion of civic capacity.
DevIntel — Rubayat Khan & Amin Toufani MPA/ID 2012 – DevIntel strives to harness the power of predictive modeling and data mining to make development interventions more proactive, efficient and impactful.