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Lancaster entrepreneurs pitch social business plans

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Contestants in the 2016 Great Social Enterprise Pitch collect funds to support business ideas

Lancaster Great Social Enterprise Pitch

Would you like to see low-income communities have more access to healthier foods, or more venues that promote sobriety during a night out?

Lancaster entrepreneurs are pitching ideas – and launching crowdfunding campaigns – for nine startups that aim to have a positive influence on society and the environment.

About 150 people attended a kick-off event Wednesday night at Zoetropolis, a theater at 315 W. James St.

Contestants presented two-minute films about their ideas, said Tracy Cutler, a spokesperson for the Lancaster County Community Foundation.

Now through Sept. 14, you can support your favorite idea by donating money to a crowdfunding campaign started by the entrepreneur behind it.

After the campaigns end in September, five contestants will go on to compete in a live competition, which is slated to take place Sept. 30.

Winners of the competition could receive up to $50,000 in cash, free business services and other resources to move their social enterprise forward.

The competition, known as the 2016 Great Social Enterprise Pitch, is hosted annually by the foundation and ASSETS Lancaster.

The contestants

Kyle Kuehn, Soberbars: An idea to create more spaces where people recovering from addiction can enjoy a night out without being surrounded by the typical bar scene.

Kristin Snyder, Sophie Stargazer Boutique: A women’s fashion store whose goal is to sell only ethically made products, or products that are made with sustainable materials by people who are paid a fair wage to create them.

Lixin Ji, Ebenezer Wholistic Foods and East Side Community Kitchen: A raw vegan food company dedicated to providing people with healthier food options.

LaShonda Whitaker, Whitaker Family Child Care: An enterprise that will supply healthy, local food to childcare facilities.

Saba Williams and Olayinka Credle, BirdOrganics: A manufacturer of ethically-produced, natural, hygienic products, or bath and body products that are made with organic materials.

Luis Miranda, BootCamp900: An initiative to develop a fitness and wellness center focused on improving the health of people in low-income communities while providing a fair wage to employees.

Heather and Michelle Long, WIN Workplace Solutions: A company manufacturing portable spaces that employers can provide to women employees who need to pump breast milk in the workplace.

Will Kiefer, Bench Mark B-Fit: A wellness initiative to empower and train at-risk youth to become personal trainers in corporate settings.

Timbrel Adidala, Lush Bazaar: A fashion provider that employs underprivileged women so that they feel empowered and have jobs in a stable environment.

There were ten contestants when the contest started, but one dropped out because the founders decided it was not the right time for them to pursue their idea, Cutler said.