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Growing Resilient Communities Challenge rewards Big Bend area businesses, nonprofits

This year, the "DMV Urban Greens" farm is growing collards, kale, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, squash, onions, garlic and herbs. Last year, they donated 20,000 pounds of fresh produce to the community from their urban farms.
Posted at 1:12 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 13:12:49-04

TALLAHSSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Big Bend area small biz owners and nonprofits have an opportunity to show off their sustainability and community empowerment with a chance to win tens of thousands of dollars.

Growing Resilient Communities Challenge aims to break down barriers that prevent equitable economic and healthy living opportunities for Floridians living in under-resourced communities.

Guide Well Innovation's four-month challenge is targeted to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, social innovators and grassroots organizations and is focused on sourcing novel approaches that empower community residents to be actively involved in developing their neighborhood’s long-term resiliency.

The challenge will award a total of $100,000 in prize money to organizations with sustainable, innovative approaches that align with one of five focus areas.

Judging Criteria

  • Impact
  • Traction to Date
  • Unique Approach
  • Sustainable Business Model
  • Potential Scale of Social Impact
  • Leadership of Team

Eligibility
GuideWell is seeking innovative grassroots solutions from for-profit, non-profit, social innovators or community organizations with programs, platforms, technology services and systems that have the potential to empower the people, business owners and leaders from underserved Florida communities to lead the way in designing their paths to sustainable economic stability.

  • Programs or proven approaches that provide knowledge, mentorship and capital to jumpstart local small businesses and drive place-based entrepreneurship
  • Educational programs that teach financial literacy and credit skills or that provide legal or educational counseling to families living in distressed Florida communities
  • Organizations that offer mobile or virtual health services that can be offered “on-demand” in a distressed community
  • Organizations that can provide a safe convening place within a distressed community to host community input forums, entrepreneurship skills workshops and regular health and wellness clinics
  • Programs or models that mentor people within a local community to design and bootstrap their own baseline community development strategy or social enterprise

Registration is open now through August 6, 2021.

Regional Pitch Competitions
GuideWell will launch the challenge in four Florida regions (Central Florida, North Florida/Panhandle, West Florida and South Florida). Applicants showing the most potential will be selected to participate in one of four regional pitch competitions taking place virtually this fall. Selected applicants will compete for up to three prizes of $5,000 per organization in each region.

Statewide Challenge
Finalists from each region will be invited to the Statewide Challenge, which may be held virtually or in person, at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City on October 27. Finalists will present their ideas and compete for the grand prize of $40,000 to fund their unique solution. Regional and statewide finalists will be selected by a panel of expert judges.

For more information click here.