West Coast Village Capital is Looking for a Few Good Social Ventures

light bulb ideaWest Coast Village Capital (WCVC) is a social venture program that brings together entrepreneurs to learn from and support each other’s social enterprises. Over the course of 12 weeks, beginning in January 2010, up to 30 social entrepreneurs will work together in groups of five to share their knowledge, strengthen their models, and build their businesses. If you would like to be one of them, read on.

Inspired by the village bank model used in microfinance, WCVC represents an innovative investment model built on the hypothesis that entrepreneurs, working intimately together and providing peer support to one another, will be able to efficiently and wisely allocate investment to their companies. This means WCVC will put the investment decisions in the hands of entrepreneurs themselves.

First Light Ventures, a sister enterprise to Grey Ghost Ventures, will provide the investment funds by making $25,000 and $75,000 investments in the 5-10 companies identified as most ready for seed capital. “We wanted to test the hypothesis that entrepreneurs can make investment decisions as well, if not better, than investors,” said Ross Baird from First Light Ventures.

WCVC is looking for social entrepreneurs with bright ideas and sustainable business models. If you have a business idea to help improve the world, they want to hear about it.

WCVC is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and will run January 19 through April 14, 2010. Applications are due by January 7, 2010. The program will be hosted at the Hub-Bay Area, which supports WCVC with marketing, meeting space, and access to its vibrant community of entrepreneurs, creative professionals and community leaders. A public information session will take place December 7, 6:30 pm at the Hub office in Berkeley, located in the David Brower Center.

First Light Ventures is a catalyst fund that promotes social impact through investment and infrastructure development. First Light will be testing the Village Capital model through four distinct pilot programs: West Coast Village Capital (San Francisco Bay Area, California); Unreasonable Village Capital (Boulder, Colorado); Idea Village Capital (New Orleans, Louisiana); and Dasra Village Capital (Mumbai, India).

Jim Witkin is a writer and researcher based in Silicon Valley focused on business, technology and the environment. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on topics that include: sustainable business practices, clean tech, the environment and next generation transportation technologies. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. Contact him at jameswitkin@gmail.com

3 responses

  1. How about an online 'village' too? Picking a worthy venture is tough but limiting the pool to such a few geographies seems unscientific to me. Of course I'm not located in any of the 4 location so I might be biased :)

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