Central Florida Foundation Launches Social Enterprise Initiative with Local Entrepreneurs

July 21 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. — July 21, 2014 — Harbor House of Central Florida will be able to take its online domestic violence training program to the next level, thanks to Central Florida Foundation’s new Entrepreneurs in Action (EIA) initiative.

Through the EIA’s first assistance process, a group of Central Florida entrepreneurs who form the EIA worked with the nonprofit to provide expertise and advice on its business concept for the domestic violence program. Foundation leaders estimate the value of that assessment and the team’s recommendations at more than $100,000, comparable to the cost of hiring a team of consultants to provide the same expertise.

“Working with the EIA team allowed us to see the potential in the project from experts who have created and built large companies and know what it takes to succeed,” said Harbor House CEO Carol Wick. “Because of this process, Harbor House will now be able to not only spread its mission further, but support it financially at the same time.”

Harbor House was chosen, EIA Chairman Rob Panepinto said, because of its sustainable business practices and strong leadership.

“We were extremely honored to work with Harbor House and Carol as EIA’s first initiative,” Panepinto said. “They have an exciting opportunity to leverage their online domestic violence training concept to make an impact in reducing domestic violence, while also gaining needed revenue for Harbor House in a new way.”

The nonprofit candidates considered for the initiative will be identified through the organizational portraits posted on the Nonprofit Search section of the Foundation’s website. Of particular interest are organizations that are forming new business models focused on revenue generation, merger and acquisition activity, and entrepreneurial business practices.

Proposed projects for review must be successfully in operation, but ready to scale up or move to a new level. Once a project is selected, the team will determine the type of assistance that’s most helpful in moving the project forward — expertise, advice and recommendations; grant money; or a combination of both.

It’s a model that benefits the organizations, but it’s also a positive experience for the entrepreneurs, Panepinto says, because they are able to work with colleagues to design and implement nontraditional social enterprise and nonprofit business strategies.

“It’s a valuable opportunity for our entrepreneurs because it enables them to give back to the community in a way that best utilizes their talents and strengths in business-building,” he said.

The EIA’s entrepreneurs are chosen by the Foundation’s president and CEO, the board chairperson and vice chairperson, and the EIA chairperson. Individuals considered must have started their own company or run a business and have an interest in social entrepreneurial businesses.

EIA is a laboratory for new ideas and solutions for the greater good of the Central Florida community,” Panepinto.And we are looking forward to our next project.”

About Central Florida Foundation

The Central Florida Foundation is the place for people who want to invest in their community. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds. The Foundation manages and invests funds, offers personalized service and expert giving advice, connects caring people, businesses, governments and organizations to local initiatives that build and inspire community, and empowers them to make informed decisions that make a difference now and in the future. The Central Florida Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses, professional advisors and nonprofits. For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.cffound.org.