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Special Edition | Spring 2014

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Dear Reader,

We are excited to announce a special edition of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal titled “Innovations in Social Entrepreneurship”. Different from previous editions, this edition is published in a series of short five minute videos by aspiring social entrepreneurs highlighting 17 new ideas in a business plan pitch format.  This publication is in partnership with the Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab (SIL), a local economic development and social sector enterprise incubator and an outgrowth of the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal. SIL supports social entrepreneurs in developing and executing a business plan for their social enterprise. From a cloud-based early literacy game to a homeless-run house cleaning service, the SIL fellows have developed business ideas that provide creative solutions to serious issues in the broader social sector.

Partially funded through a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the fellows and their teams were selected to participate in a 15-week evening SIL at University of Pennsylvania, Fels Institute of Government. The SIL is a mix of classroom, laboratory and accelerator structured in three core segments where participants: develop core competencies around social innovation; collaborate with each other, network with experienced professionals and receive expert consultations to help test their ideas; and test and accelerate the innovation and social enterprise through investor presentations and project launch.   The lab will be repeated in the Fall 2014.  Interested teams should apply online at

Enjoy this special edition, and we hope to inspire you to become your own social entrepreneur.

Tine Hansen-Turton and Nicholas Torres, Co-Founders

Below are the individual fellow pitch summaries:

Benefits Data Trust – By using innovative data-matching strategies and a robust technology platform, Benefits Data Trust (BDT) seeks to use healthcare settings to assist individuals in meeting their unmet social needs by maximizing the rate at which individuals are able to access food, prescriptions, heat and shelter. Health outcomes will improve and healthcare costs will be reduced. Team: DeAnna Minus-Vincent, Ginger Zielinskie, Elisa Zygmunt and Rachel Cahill.

Depaul House – Through the B-Corp Certified social enterprise, Immaculate Cleaning Services, Depaul seeks to scale its commercial cleaning services owned and operated by homeless individuals. Team: Oliver Miller and Charles Levesque.

EdPlusRead™ – Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School is partnering with the Philadelphia Game Lab to develop an educational early literacy cloud-based game, EdPlusRead™. This game replicates a successful evidence-based model, used by students of Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter School, to a cloud-based structure that can be disseminated to students with dyslexia and reading-based learning challenges. Team: Tara Miller and Education Plus, Inc.

Educa México – Educa Mexico seeks to transform the delivery of education in Mexico by providing an online platform and teacher training program to develop a data-driven decision making culture in Mexican schools. Team: Pável Javalera and Anna Valeria Zuccolotto.

Education-Plus, Inc. – School-based health centers staffed with Nurse Practitioners help students and schools in at-risk communities across the country improve academic, emotional and physical well-being through decreased absenteeism and increased preventive care and disease management. Education Plus seeks to expand upon this well-evidenced model launched within two Philadelphia charter schools in 2011, scaling to reach more than 5,000 at-risk students by the end of the next school year. Team: Julie Cousler and Education-Plus, Inc.

Gearing Up – The Shifting Gears program will expand and support graduates after they have completed the Earn-a-Bike program and continue to show their commitment to re-entering and re-integrating as productive members of society. This initiative will aid 12-15 clients in their transition into their next phase of life: continued treatment, finding safe and secure housing, securing employment and developing workplace skills. Team: Kristen Gavin and Gearing Up.

Health Promotion Council (HPC) Good Start Wellness – To tackle the poor enrollment rates currently seen in employee wellness programs, HPC proposes the Good Start employee wellness concierge service. Good Start is an employer wellness service enhancement that focuses on helping employees take that first, critical step of enrolling, completing and understanding their Health Risk Assessment. Team: Tinesha Banks, Marlin Williams and Dr. Azor Hui.

Lion Heart Bakery – Lion Heart Bakery, located in Sierra Leone, West Africa, will scale to support the village's 1200 residents. Team: Alhaji Sacooh.

New Leash on Life Saving and Reclaiming Lives – Saving and Reclaiming Lives addresses the needs of wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With the guidance of a decorated local war hero with PTSD, a certified dog trainer, psychologist and case managers, they prepare assistance dogs to help veterans return to civilian life and grow as healthy human beings who can be happy and fulfilled in their lives. Team: Alfred Brenner, Linda Loi, Marian Marchese, and Sandi Williams.

Philadelphia Engineering and Math Challenge Engaging Math Change – The Philadelphia Engineering and Math Challenge enhances the teaching and learning of problem solving and communication in Philadelphia's public schools through a series of school-based collaborative practice sessions and university-based competitive events focused on math and engineering. Team: Trey Smith, Suzanne Alejandre, Max Ray, and Don McKinney.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) – PLA, a non-profit legal services organization, has established a Medical-Legal-Community Partnership (MLCP) that places attorneys and paralegals into a community health center in West Philadelphia. PLA wants to transform the MLCP into a demonstration project that will measure the model's financial benefits to healthcare partners. Team: Jonathan Pyle and Magrielle H. Eisen.

Philly Peacemakers – Promoting peacemaking behaviors among elementary school students through literature, art, cooperative games and a community change project, Philly Peacemakers is a replication of programs that have been successful in preventing violence in other major U.S. cities. The program is a week-long summer camp to be launched in August 2014. Team: Ali Flukes.

Rising Sons – Rising Sons is seeking to scale its program which provides support to individuals, ages 18 to 35, who have challenges finding opportunities, jobs and resources. The goal is to help them excel in disadvantage communities. Team: Alex Peay and Rising Sons.

re:Mind - Bridging Gaps in Behavioral Health Care – re:Mind offers a text message reminder platform, data collection and implementation support to behavioral healthcare organizations aiming to increase primary outpatient appointment attendance following discharge from hospital care. Team: Molly Viscardi, Nandini Chandrasekaran, Dan Bernick and Meghan O'Brien.

Soceana – Soceana is the market's first one-stop-shop Software as a Service platform that helps companies better manage and promote corporate volunteerism. Soceana's tech enterprise solution uses a 3 M Process – Match, Measure, Motivate – to improve consumer brand loyalty, employee satisfaction and employee retention. Team: Tess Michaels, Peter Menninger, Peter Eschenbrenner and David Curtis.

Sunday Suppers – Family meals create model behavior and improve the health and well-being of families, creating positive health outcomes such as preventing obesity and diabetes, as well as family connectedness and cohesion. Sunday Suppers is seeking to expand its proven program into community health centers and schools with health programs. Team: Linda Samost and Mercelyne Latortue.

12+ – 12+ seeks to cultivate a college-going culture in lower income schools by building PLUS Centers within the walls of a school to serve as hubs of college, career and academic support services and staffing them with a cost-effective, qualified workforce to provide individualized guidance for every student. Team: Raymond John and 12+ group.

About the Philadelphia Social Innovations Lab

Co-founded by Nicholas Torres, CEO of Education-Plus, Inc., and Tine Hansen-Turton, CSO of Public Health Management Corporation, the Social Innovations Lab nurtures social enterprise models from ideas to implementation. The Lab's goal is to increase the chances that the strongest ideas of Social Innovators will take root, attract capital and ultimately have a significant social impact regionally, nationally and internationally. Selected participants from a competitive screening process and diverse sector cohorts of private, government and nonprofit organizations will refine and test proposals, research and tap into external resources, and build the necessary infrastructure to get their idea or organization up and running. For more information, visit