Earlier this summer we announced a golden opportunity: Plywood People is awarding over $20,000 in prizes and services to people with the “next solutions to big problems,” in our second annual Idea Competition. During our annual Plywood Presents conference, August 14-15 in Atlanta, five finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their idea—in five minutes and five slides.
Now that the competition is closed, we are incredibly excited and proud to announce our finalists to you. There are so many amazing ideas that we believe in and wish we could support; it was a highly debated conversation. Our board of directors read through every application, voted on the ideas and narrowed down the ideas to just five finalists: Scizzle, Urban Perform, Global Growers, BeLoved Atlanta and the Kula Project. Join us on August 14-15 at Plywood Presents to hear these entrepreneurs share their problem solving solutions, and see which three ideas get funding.
1. Scizzle // Gaia Vasiliver-Shamis
The Problem Being Solved: These days everyone is trying to keep up with the wealth of information on the web. But unlike most of us that just want to keep up with news, social media and blogs; scientists are struggling to keep up with scientific literature. Staying current is key for brilliant scientists and for outstanding research and can lead to significant life-changing and life saving discoveries. Today, researchers must use multiple resources and tools to search, find and organize relevant papers, a very time consuming and inefficient process. In reality, scientists often fail to keep up, which results in further time loss—a time they could have spent reading the right papers, getting new ideas and advancing science to the benefit of us all.
2. Urban Perform // Laura Pritchard-Compton
The Problem Being Solved: Urban Perform is solving the exercise and nutrition disparity problem by providing active lifestyle opportunities and quality nutrition lessons to low-income, urban neighborhoods in Atlanta. In the communities we serve, exercise and healthy eating are viewed as values for the elite . When living in low-income neighborhoods there are many barriers for doing seemingly everyday activities like going to the gym and purchasing fresh, unprocessed foods:. A. Gyms are too expensive for the average earner in a low income area B. Gyms and grocery stores are often not easily accessible (either not on a bus/train line or not located within the neighborhood). C. The corner stores located within the neighborhood do not sell fresh produce. Due to these three barriers and lack of quality health and nutrition education our neighbors often have never had the chance to value exercise and healthy eating. Urban Perform is fighting this disparity by making exercise available to all and partnering with local organizations to provide nutrition lessons and cooking classes. The afterschool programs, exercise classes, and summer camp combat obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
3. Global Growers // Susan Pavlin
The Problem Being Solved: We are connecting Georgia’s small farmers with Georgia’s largest kitchens—universities, hospitals, hotels, and schools—to rebuild a local food economy that has been lost in our country. Our national food system is in crisis. It is not feeding our country—in Georgia, one in five children go to bed hungry each night. And it is a major contributor to the declining health and lifespan of average Americans, the environmental degradation of our natural resources, and even our country’s geopolitical position. Creating farmers, delivering healthy local meals to thousands of people, and connecting our children with good food and farms can change this formula in Georgia, and show the rest of the nation how it’s done.
4. BeLoved Atlanta // Amelia Quinn
The Problem Being Solved: Lack of resources and support for women desiring to reenter the workforce within the city of Atlanta. BeLoved Atlanta’s solution is to create a residential home community empowering women to regain their freedom through restoration, education and reintegration into society. This is a unique approach because BeLoved is the only residential home located within the city of Atlanta specifically for women hoping to change their lives for the better. Training under similar organizations, the team found that women would often find healing and restoration outside of a city. Then, as they graduated, they would move back into the city for work and would not have the tools to overcome triggers in the city. The hope is to help women heal in the environment they will most likely live in when they reintegrate into society.
5. Kula Project // Sarah Buchanan
The Problem Being Solved: Hunger, malnourishment, unemployment, education and reducing the global water crisis. After spending time in Africa and seeing first hand the need for food and water, Sarah Buchanan and her partner decided to put two problems together to create a solution. The question became, “How can we teach people to grow their own food while using less water the same time?” 925 million people around the world suffer from hunger and malnourishment, and 800 million of them do not have access to clean water. The Kula Project equips local farmers with innovative farming methods that creates sustainable communities.
Join us on August 14-15 at Plywood Presents to hear these entrepreneurs share their problem solving solutions, and see which three ideas get funding.