Six finalists have been selected to pitch their creative solutions to local social problems before community investors and a live audience at a Nov. 2 event dubbed “KERNEL LIVE!” By night’s end, the investors will decide who will get $10,000 or more in seed money from the United Way of Tarrant County KERNEL Fund to grow their social innovation.
The finalists and their innovative ideas are:
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth
Fort Worth Children’s Savings Account Pilot Program – 200 students and parents will save for college and receive financial education.
Dream Outside the Box
Dream Delivered – A monthly subscription service through which children ages 6-10 will receive boxes relating to a career pathway filled with 4-6 activities accompanied by supplies, directions and a magazine featuring experts in the field, related careers, and more.
Bee Friendly Boot Camp™ – A technology-based elementary school program that partners with schools, parents and kids to combat bullying and suicide through character and leadership development.
Meals On Wheels Inc. of Tarrant County
Suicide Prevention Training – In-depth train-the-trainer education for 500 “Gatekeepers” who volunteer and serve meals to isolated seniors.
Presbyterian Night Shelter
Clean Slate Program – Providing steady employment opportunities for homeless individuals to restore the hope, dignity, and opportunity that will allow homeless clients to transition permanently into the workforce.
UTA Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering
Facial Matching for “Take Me Home” Project – Enhancement of current “Take Me Home” software by adding automatic facial recognition capability to help law enforcement personnel and other first responders quickly identify registered people with dementia or other disabilities who cannot speak their name and address so they can be taken home.
KERNEL LIVE! may resemble the hit television show Shark Tank, where real community investors will hear from real organizations that have innovative solutions. KERNEL LIVE! will be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Four Day Weekend theatre, 312 Houston in downtown Fort Worth. The evening will begin with a cash bar reception followed by the live pitch event at 6:30 p.m. KERNEL LIVE! also will feature entertainment by members of the critically-acclaimed Four Day Weekend comedy group.
Tickets are available at www.unitedwaytarrant.org/kernellive. General admission tickets are $45, VIP tickets are $75 and student tickets are $25. Seating is limited.
“We’re excited to begin this journey in social innovation with our finalists,” said David Frederick, United Way Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Local start-up incubators TechFW and IDEA Works FW are partnering with the United Way of Tarrant County to provide investment processes for the launch of KERNEL. Mentors from Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University and others from the public and private sectors are helping the finalists prepare for the Nov. 2 pitch event and will assist the winner or winners afterward.
“I have seen countless pitch competitions but I’m truly looking forward to KERNEL LIVE! – real people pitching for real dollars, with the end result being solutions to social problems,” said TechFW Director Jorge Varela. “Add in the entertaining value of Four Day Weekend and the event becomes a unique experience, a night out. I can’t wait!”
Hayden Blackburn, Director of IDEA Works FW adds, “Social innovation can come in many flavors. It can take the shape of entrepreneurs launching new initiatives and solutions to existing organization innovating from within and everything in-between. All paths have the potential to deliver life-changing solutions to challenges our communities face, and with these six finalists, attendees at KERNEL LIVE! will be able to see several flavors of social innovation in one evening.”
Based on the philosophy “where new ideas are planted, solutions grow,” United Way of Tarrant County established KERNEL this year to find and grow new solutions to local social problems in the areas of education, income and health by bringing together a cross-section of individuals, organizations, non-profits, for-profits and entrepreneurs. The first funds ever given from the new KERNEL social innovation fund will be awarded at the KERNEL LIVE! event.