Having been involved in a few grantmaking processes, from both the grantee and grantor perspective, its been interesting to see up close who the NetSquared grant process works. This year, NetSquared sponsored a "Mashup Challenge," inviting people to submit cool technology mashup ideas that create social good. The general public can vote and comment online for each project during and open comment period. Then technical and organizational experts provide feedback and criticism for each project to help refine them.
The top 21 mashups were invited to come to the NetSquared Conference that happened yesterday and today to pitch their ideas to a couple of hundred other non-profit and tech industry reps. Finally, the conference participants vote on their favorite projects, which are awarded some share of $100,000 worth of grant funding.
I like the idea of giving social entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their ideas to an expert and critical audience, get specific feedback and suggestions, and then have a chance to refine and reframe their proposals. Even for groups that don’t get funded, this is a space where you can make sure that your group is proceeding on the right track. And with so many other tech companies, foundations and non-profits present, you might just find a partner or supporter who can help you move your project forward, even if you aren’t selected for funding by NetSquared.