COhatch brings redemptive Community Town Hall 2.0 to Tampa/St. Pete
- $2M expansion in 2021-22
- Initial locations in St. Pete, Lakeland, and West Tampa
- Creating community, supporting nonprofits, and multiplying impact
A Systems Approach to Solving Problems
As societal awareness concerning pressing challenges such as climate change, socioeconomic disparities, and civil unrest has grown, there has been a corresponding recognition of the necessity for a paradigm shift in the way these issues are addressed. It has become evident that resolving these complex challenges requires moving away from fragmented and narrowly focused efforts. Instead, a systems-level approach must be employed, recognizing the interconnected nature of these problems.
Historically, the conventional method of addressing social issues involved, in part, providing philanthropic grants to non-profit organizations. While these entities play a crucial role in instigating change, their impact is limited. Their reliance on grant funding renders their efforts unsustainable. They often struggle to tackle root causes and system-level issues, instead narrowly providing temporary solutions, akin to band-aids rather than comprehensive remedies. In response to these limitations, venture philanthropy has emerged as a burgeoning global movement. This approach seeks to address the underlying causes that traditional philanthropy may not effectively access.
Dr. Josh Yates of Belmont University has spoken on the powerful benefits of a venture philanthropy approach. He notes, “Viewing this on a continuum of capital, venture philanthropy extends the toolkit from grant-making and output-only activities to other revenue-generating activities that generate social impact.”
World Shoe and Venture Philanthropy
Venture philanthropy takes a more dynamic approach by employing charitable dollars in both non-profit grants and for-profit investments. This multifaceted funding approach allows for sustainable and scalable initiatives. Additionally, Venture Philanthropy has the potential to yield returns on capital, significantly enhancing the effectiveness of each dollar invested and presenting an innovative alternative to traditional investment models. The ultimate key to this shift is the enlistment of strategic, catalytic, and tenacious capital that typically includes a blended finance approach. A powerful example of an organization that has transitioned to venture philanthropy is the World Shoe Fund.
The World Shoe Fund was established as an expansion of Samaritan’s Feet’s longstanding commitment to fostering global accessibility to footwear and reducing the overall prevalence of tropical diseases. Founded by Manny Ohonme in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet originated from Manny’s personal experience in Nigeria, where receiving his first pair of tennis shoes at the age of nine proved to be a transformative moment. This pivotal event inspired him to pursue his aspirations, ultimately leading to a successful college basketball career in the United States.
Upon returning to Nigeria later in life with his wife, Manny was deeply moved by the persisting hardships faced by underprivileged communities, particularly the sight of countless children still living without proper footwear, trapped in the cycle of poverty. This profound realization spurred him into action, propelling him on a mission to provide hope to those in need through the gift of shoes.
To accomplish this noble endeavor, Samaritan’s Feet introduced its distinctive Wash and Wear methodology, drawing upon UNICEF’s WASH concept. This innovative distribution model not only supplies prophylactic footwear to individuals in various regions but also imparts essential hygiene practices through direct, face-to-face interaction.
As of today, Samaritan’s Feet has successfully delivered shoes to over 9,600,000 individuals across 109 different countries. However, despite these impressive achievements, the prevalence of neglected tropical diseases continues to afflict more than one billion people around the world. As a result, Samaritan’s Feet recognized the necessity for a more efficient and comprehensive approach to fulfill its mission.
The creation of The World Shoe Fund emerged as the answer to this global challenge. By embracing an enterprise-based approach, Samaritan’s Feet aims to harness the potential of the venture philanthropy continuum within The World Shoe Fund, empowering them to maximize their outreach and effect positive change on a global scale.
Towards a Sustainable Business Model
World Shoe Global, Inc., the for-profit arm of the World Shoe Fund has been designed to create a more efficient and effective manufacturing/transportation model for the distribution of shoes throughout Africa. To support this ambitious endeavor, the company successfully secured a substantial venture-oriented grant amounting to 20 million dollars. These funds are being strategically utilized to establish a local manufacturing facility in Ghana, a crucial step towards positively impacting the impoverished local economy. Notably, this initiative is set to create 200 jobs, while also significantly reducing transportation costs in the region.
The core product of the factory is Samaritan’s Feet’s innovative “World Shoe,” an eco-friendly prophylactic footwear that offers protection against diseases and actively combats microbial cell formations that pose a threat to public health. Meticulously crafted from a proprietary blend of plastics, antimicrobial polymers, and biodegradation accelerants, this cutting-edge enterprise solution embodies a triple-bottom-line mission. By multiplying the impact of generated revenue, it endeavors to drive disease-fighting innovation, foster community development, and benefit socially conscious shareholders.FunFF
World Shoe Global, Inc. envisions generating revenue by supplying the “World Shoe” to local African governments, B2C retail sales, international aid organizations, and even first-world markets. This strategic approach promises to significantly enhance the sustainability and scalability of the initiative, as well as provide future impact investment opportunities as they replicate the factory model throughout Africa.
In a collaborative effort to achieve these goals, Commonwealth, an organization committed to promoting innovative research, consulting, and financial services to enhance communities and expand economic opportunities, has joined forces with the World Shoe Fund. Leveraging its expertise in impact investing and community renewal, Commonwealth is poised to manage the World Shoe Fund while providing invaluable advisory services.
Although the World Shoe Fund is yet to undergo full-scale testing, the experience of Samaritan’s Feet over the past two decades and commonwealth’s expertise combined with the formidable power of an enterprise solution presents a highly promising and innovative model in the fight against poverty and disease. This visionary initiative represents a significant step forward in making a profound and sustainable impact on the lives of countless individuals across Africa and beyond and demonstrates the potential of a venture philanthropy approach
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a staggering 37.3 million individuals in the United States are affected by diabetes. For these individuals, the task of finding food that aligns with their dietary restrictions and simultaneously satisfies their taste buds can be an overwhelming challenge. Mohamed Aly, an experienced chef, found himself grappling with the same predicament upon receiving his own diabetes diagnosis. This personal experience served as a catalyst for his innovative creation of a carb-free pizza crust, comprising solely four ingredients: olive oil, salt, chicken breasts, and spices.
Under the collaborative efforts of Mohamed Aly and Omar Atia (a skilled food engineer) the brand ZeroCarb Lyfe has successfully incorporated the carb-free process into a diverse range of products, spanning from pizza to chips, to taco shells. By doing so, ZeroCarb Lyfe offers a revolutionary alternative that caters not only to individuals afflicted by diabetes but to all seeking to shed excess weight or simply lead a healthier life, while still relishing their culinary experiences.
Omar Atia | Co-Founder and CEO
Mohamed Aly | Co-Founder and CCO
John Pena | CGO
The US spends the most on health care but has the worst health outcomes among high-income countries – The American healthcare system is riddled with problems, from high costs and inefficiencies to a lack of serious preventative care. Omar Fuentes, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran experienced this firsthand when his father and brother passed away and his wife was diagnosed with Cancer. He built Accel-EQ out of a desire to increase efficiencies and decrease the costs of medical care with the intention of lowering the barrier of access for those who have been underserved.
AccelEQ is an end-to-end SaaS platform that uses AI and Machine learning to automate medical documentation by transcribing patient-provider interactions at the point of care. This dictation software will ultimately make the clinical documentation process more efficient and less costly, thereby decreasing provider burnout and increasing patient experience.
Omar Fuentes | Co-Founder and C
Steven Ponce | Co-Founder and CPO
From expensive transportation and hard-to-predict markets to complicated foreign laws and regulations, entering into international trade can be quite challenging for new companies. However, for many emerging brands, global trade offers one of the fastest and most effective ways to scale their business and reach new customers. After spending over a decade in the international imports and exports industry developing networks and experience, Mauro Costa saw an opportunity for innovation.
This realization birthed Bulkitrade, a user-friendly B2B marketplace that streamlines logistics and distributions for emerging food and beverage companies, offering them access to global analytics, logistic algorithms, and 24/7 support. Bulkitrade combines e-commerce, supply chain, fintech, and data analytics all in one place, ultimately making international B2B trade more efficient, transparent, and accessible.
Mauro Costa | Founder and CEO
Grace Franca | People
Anthony Gordon | Logistics
DALLAS, TX — Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans have enough saved to to cover a $1000 unexpected expense.¹ Likewise, Americans borrow almost $200B annually from friends and family.²
In financial emergencies, there is limited consumer access to traditional lending options and no structure to automate loan repayment to friends and family. In this vacuum, predatory lenders charge exorbitant interest and prey on borrowers when they are most vulnerable.
Zirtue is a relationship-based social lending app that simplifies loans between friends, family and trusted relationships with automatic ACH loan payments. A more financially inclusive economy, especially for the underbanked and unbanked, is coming into being through Zirtue’s enterprise solution for borrowers.
Dennis Cail | Co-Founder and CEO
Micheal Seay | Co-Founder and CFO
Airion Watkins-Clark | VP of Produts
FORT WAYNE, IN — Sports training programs typically focus on athletic performance and skill. Since focus on holistic development is often in short supply, these programs can lack trainers and mentors who invest in the development of an athlete outside of sports.
Traction Athletic Performance is a training platform focused on building human potential. Their approach integrates human development, mental performance, athletic performance, and skills training into a micro process of sports. Their mission is to empower human development beyond sports through the holistic training of the athlete.
DeAundre Muhammad| Founder and CEO
Lawrence Barnett | Director of System Integration
Donovan Martin | Director of Mental Performance
As coffee prices have dropped in recent years, economic pressures on Guatemalans have triggered mass migration to the United States. Hundreds of thousands make the dangerous journey only to be apprehended at the U.S. border or live a shadow life as non-citizens.
Thrive Farmers coffee company shares more revenue with Guatemalan farmers – allowing farming families to support themselves year in and year out. Their farmers see an average increase of 350% in their net income and often invest this new wealth in their communities.
Micheal Jones | Founder and CEO
Kenneth Lander | Co-Founder and CSO
Tom Mathesen | President
MCKINNEY, TX — On a mission to fuel industry recovery and grow local economies, ShearShare is the first B2B mobile marketplace for stylists to manage and grow their small businesses on their terms, starting with a space to work. Even before COVID-19, the barbering and beauty industry was changing and now 70% of licensed professionals are now freelance.¹
ShearShare empowers small businesses by allowing salon and barbershop owners to fill their empty chairs giving independent stylists economic mobility through on-demand access to professional work spaces and B2B tools. ShearShare’s vision is to create 1,000,000 industry jobs and empower stylists with tools to maximize their earning potential.
Dr. Tye Caldwell | Co-Founder
Courtney Caldwell | Co-Founder
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — About a decade ago, the Near North Development Corporation, the community development corporation responsible for the Crown Hill neighborhood in Indianapolis, faced dire challenges in its service area. The crippling effects of the neighborhood’s high crime and poverty rates left many in despair about the future of Crown Hill. By 2017, the NNDC had maxed out of the limited supply of general contractors who were willing and able to build affordable residential housing in Crown Hill.
Revive was created to revitalize depleted communities by pairing new residential housing construction with increased access to adult education and social services. They elevate the urban living experience with entertainment and wellness projects. One home, one family, one community at a time. The NNDC and the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation both have awarded contracts and projects to Revive to increase the supply of affordable housing builders long-term.