Guest post from our friends at Good Capital:
Jack Alter, a Philadelphia schoolteacher, started giving loans to some of his fellow teachers in 1951 with big dreams and less than $100 in seed money. Since then, Advanta has grown into one of the nation’s largest credit card issuers (through Advanta Bank Corp.) in the small business market. Today, as a respected company with close to 1,000 employees and well over one million small business customers nationwide, they are choosing to give other entrepreneurs and small business owners a chance to pursue their dreams. For those not already in the know, Ideablob.com is an online community sponsored by Advanta Bank comprised of entrepreneurs and small business owners who share their ideas. In addition to the feedback and support provided by a community of like-minded peers, each month the site’s users vote for their favorite idea. The winner is awarded a $10,000 cash prize to either turn their idea into reality or increase the scope and scale of their project.
Recently, three “blobbers” were profiled at the inaugural Social Capital Markets Conference. Aaron Fleishman, a senior at Pennsylvania State University, developed a venture to provide needy constituents in developing communities with access to inexpensive computer-based health stations. The project, Mashavu, a Swahili word for chubby-cheeked, uses basic on-site health assessment tools that hook up to mobile phone networks and send the information out to doctors around the world for health advice and medical recommendations. The system uses relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf components that can then be assembled locally. Mashavu has deep value in disaster relief situations in addition to facilitating regular health screenings for those who would not have access otherwise. Aaron and his team plan to have five Mashavu stations up and running by fall, 2009. For more information please visit www.mashavu.com.
Abigail Glaum-Lathbury started her clothing line Elmidae after graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to implementing eco-friendly innovations such as using remaindered fabrics, Abigail pays a fair living wage to all of her employees. She produces her hand-made clothing in the United States using low-impact fibers such as bamboo. For more information, please visit www.elmidae.com.
We were also excited to hear from Natalie Carter of the Earth Garden Project. Natalie’s up-and-coming venture seeks to combat hunger and malnutrition among women around the world by teaching school children and their teachers the skills needed to grow vegetables first at school and then at home. For more information, check out Natalie’s idea page by searching for the Earth Garden Project at www.ideablob.com.
If you have an idea stewing and want a shot at the prize or if you just want to check out this month’s contenders, head over to the site.