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Meet Our 2019 IMPACT Pitch Finalists!

On September 19th our eight IMPACT Pitch finalists will stand before a live audience to pitch how their inspiring business ideas will positively impact the community in attempts to win the $10,000 award for Best Established Business or the $10,000 award for Best Startup/ Early-Stage  Business. Surrounded by family and friends while facing a panel of business leader judges, competitors will put their ideas on the line. They will pitch their small business dreams and actively work to make them come true. Special awards of $2,000 will also be presented to best veteran, woman, community of color, LGBTQ+, and immigrant and/or refugee owned-businesses. Check out who you’ll meet at the IMPACT Pitch Live Competition and Showcase next week! To purchase tickets, visit businessimpactnw.org/tickets.

Established Business Category: 

Kaffeeklatsch Seattle, Annette Heide-Jessen

In 2009, the City of Seattle designated Lake City as an underserved community. The same year, we applied for our loan through Community Capital Development to create a third place in a neighborhood lacking a resilient business core. Now it is 2019, and we are widely seen as the most community-oriented business in Lake City.

We offer our space as a meeting place for community groups. We’re actively involved in the creation of the several neighborhood groups, one of which is now known as Build Lake City Together and has a full-time staff. We provide a grassroots gathering point for the Lake City Community.

Kaffeeklatsch Seattle is also also the only business in Lake City with a designated kid’s area. This was an important point during our planning stages. As a single mother, I always found it difficult to be in an open space and meet with friends and family. Not having a dedicated space for kids makes for lonely parents. Our success is measured in the groups of toddlers watching us bake every morning.

We partner with several non profit groups including Hunger Intervention Program, The Lake City Farmers Market, North Helpline and the Literacy Source.

Kids’ Carpentry Seattle, Loren Kite

Since 2005, Kids’ Carpentry Seattle has engaged thousands of kids throughout the Seattle Metropolitan Area in the fun of wood working. In a world of screens and consoles, we are committed to capturing children’s attention by providing quality programming through hands-on learning and engaging experiences. We use respect and humor to build confidence, self-esteem and a repertoire of practical skills that will last kids a lifetime.

We expose kids to basic skills and mediums that generations have been missing out on. There are no other programs like Kids’ Carpentry at any age level in our schools our community centers. We are starting early to fill this gap in our practical educations.

Orca Swim School Inc., Cori Myka & Bruce Myka

Orca Swim School offers a fresh start to the adult and teen learner to overcome their fear of water and become free in deep water. This is a new opportunity for adults who have been ashamed, confused or embarrassed that they could not swim.

Orca is unique because we focus on the needs of the adult swimmer. Our method of teaching focuses first on how to remain calm and free of panic. Our method of teaching starts with understanding safety and recognizes that physical skills come out of being safe. Once the student understands how to be in control of both their physical bodies and their feelings (of calm) then they move into physical skills. This method of learning works because this is how natural curious learning works. Students are wildly successful, happy, joyful and safe.

Orca’s unique teaching method allows the adult learner to heal from past trauma or beliefs. This opportunity to heal goes beyond swimming to change people’s lives. It also allows students the safety of understanding that their lack of swimming is not about them as an individual but also the community in which they belong.

Startup/ Early Stage Category:

The CURA Co., Akiko Waters

Research and anecdotal evidence show that people increasingly desire products and services that reflect their values. There is a market gap for products that meet the quality, elevated design, and price point that make a conscious, inclusive lifestyle accessible to all. CURA solves this market gap by curating and creating products that primarily empower women across every dimension of our value chain. From our producers downstream to the social enterprises we source from, to our community-oriented events and workshops at our retail space in the Central District. CURA is a one-stop shop for art, home, apparel, beauty, and spiritual wellness that makes values-based living affordable and convenient. We are a company, a community, and a collective at the junction of impact and design, beauty and equity. By sharing exactly who we are and who we are becoming we aim to validate and connect our customers through our social mission.

Girl Boss Sports, Sarah Wolfer

Girl Boss Sports has two goals: 1) To increase the number of women sports coaches as there are simply too few of us. For example with soccer in the US, only 21% of coaches are women. 2) To keep girls in sports as they are dropping out at alarming rates compared to their male counterparts.

We offer private training, clinics, camps, and recruiting/consulting services to other organizations working toward these two goals. Though we are an LLC, we have also partnered with several social service organizations to help work toward these two goals for other populations and demographics across the Greater Seattle area.

PopSmartKids, Priyanka Raha

Our collaborative storytelling app, PopSmartWrite is a gamification of old school writing. Our technology is easy to understand, and with delightful graphics, it brings stories to life! Students can let their imaginative juices flow. The application empowers teachers and learning leaders with comprehensive features that register, track, and organize assignments and progress. PopSmartWrite makes communicating through the app super simple thus making focused mentoring seamless.

PopSmartWrite helps to make writing rewarding by allowing the teacher to award various merits for accomplishments, over time. Parents as part of their K – 6 grade’s education is the unique, remarkable ingredient. Students can share their stories, with not just their teacher, but their parents as well. Parents can actually be involved in their young child’s education. As well as gain insight into their day, thinking and feelings, and give feedback and encouragement.

Rocky Butte Coffee Roasters, James M. Helms, Nathan Dunbar & Bryan Atkinson

A flex roasting space and quick stop coffee café will provide access to specialty coffee roasting equipment and espresso based drinks in our neglected and abandoned neighborhood. Our neighbors live busy lives and face significant commutes to work every day. From shared roasting space, coffee delivery and a quick stop coffee cafe our solution will fit the particular needs of the neighborhood. Our roastery will bring collaboration between coffee roasters in a shared space. It will provide a platform to learn, share and influence coffee roasters from surrounding areas toward a shared ethos that we champion, coffee for place. Coffee has a history of bringing people together. We are expanding the third space to the neighborhood and are using coffee as a means of connecting people to a narrative thread of abundance in order to see the area flourish.

We roast fantastic, specialty grade coffee and many of our neighbors enjoy our fresh roasted coffee in their homes already. Our expansion will provide access to espresso based drinks for their commute. We’re also investing profit back into the neighborhood in new community initiatives that provide access to local jobs and sustainability.

Yoga Wild, Casey Hubbell & Kelsey Alshememry

Yoga Wild – Inclusive yoga for the other 99%

At Yoga Wild, we recognize that community is valuable. We are providing space for an inclusive community to grow authentically within the yoga/wellness industry. A community that consists of (and is fiercely supportive of) womxn, people of color, LGBTQIA, immigrants, and people of all body types, mobilities and socioeconomic status. We are disruptors in our industry. Not simply for the sake of disruption, but to provide a roadmap of evolution for an industry that doesn’t serve 99% of people. All of our drop-in classes (18/week currently on the schedule) use sliding-scale pricing ($10, $5 or Good Vibes – $0) and are taught by trauma-informed instructors. There’s no restriction or verification needed to use the Good Vibes option. We put our money where our mouth is by donating to organizations with aligned missions.


To purchase tickets for the IMPACT Pitch Live Competition & Showcase on September 19th at 415 Westlake, visit: businessimpactnw.org/tickets

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