AsylumConnect at 2017 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON)

AsylumConnect Selected as Finalist for 2017 Harvard SECON Pitch Competition

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On March 25th, 2017, Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder & President, travelled to Cambridge, MA to pitch AsylumConnect as a finalist for the 2017 Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) Pitch Competition. 

Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder & President, represents AsylumConnect at the 2017 Harvard SECON Pitch Competition.

Katie Sgarro, AsylumConnect Co-Founder & President, represents AsylumConnect at the 2017 Harvard SECON Pitch Competition.

The SECON pitch competition granted selected entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to a panel of impact investors and the wider SECON conference. The judges for the competition included: Anna Trieschmann (Social Innovation Forum), Anne Healy (Development Innovation Ventures at USAID), Caroline Hoffman (Head of Strategy, Operations and Investor Relations at Republic), May Samali (Director of Tumml), and Oliver Libby (Managing Director & Co-Founder of Hatzimemos/Libby, and Chair & Co-Founder of The Resolution Project).

The competition pitted AsylumConnect against an eclectic mix of causes. The other finalists included the founders of: Refresh BoliviaLandLink Parcel Management SystemsVoatzProject 99CareAcademyTembo Education, and Issues of interest ranged from changing how the world votes, to increasing access to quality early childhood education via text messaging, to making property titles more secure and transparent, to diversifying leadership, to providing high-quality online classes for in-home caregivers, and preserving the bond between survivors of domestic violence and their pets. In addition to spanning a wide range of worthwhile causes, the finalists' organizations also varied dramatically in terms of geographical focus and stage of development: socially conscious for-profits competed against nonprofits, domestic initiatives were judged alongside their internationally-focused counterparts, and piloting start-ups pitched versus well-established organizations.

Regardless of focus, progress to-date, or location, the competition allotted each finalist two minutes to pitch their organization, followed by three minutes of open-ended questioning from both the judges and general members of the SECON audience. 

After a string of spirited presentations and rapid-fire questioning, the judges broke to briefly deliberate. Upon the judges' return, CareAcademy was crowned the SECON 2017 Pitch Champion.

Although AsylumConnect was not ultimately selected as the winner of this competition, our team remains thrilled to be considered among such an impressive and impactful group of finalists. Most importantly, participating in this competition allowed us to introduce both our cause and organization to a new audience.

We thank the Harvard SECON team for their belief in our initiative and the opportunity to reach a new demographic. We very much look forward to participating in many more pitch competitions in the years to come.