Weekly Review – September 25 – October 2

(almost)Every week at Invested Development we scan the web for articles that relate to what we do and what we like. This week we read a lot about… well, we read a lot.  

Five Winners Announced in Google’s $10 Million Contest to Change the World
Finally after two years, Google has announced five winners of their $10 million challenge. The five projects combined will receive a total of $10 million to fund their ideas. The diverse selection of winners is the result of crowdsourced platform, wPosthich vetted thousands of ideas. The winners of this contest focus on a range of issues including innovative approaches to public transportation to providing an online and free educational platform.

Sunlight is the world’s most plentiful resource. That is, of course, why the United States has scrambled in recent years to supplant dirty, nonrenewable energy sources with ambitious solar projects. In this article, Fast Company looks at some of the most exciting solar projects–both existing and planned–in the country.
This past week the Acumen Fund opened their applications for their fellowship program. The mission of the Acumen Fund Fellows Program is to build a corps of next generation social sector leaders by fusing operational and financial skills with moral imagination to create solutions to global poverty and fill the talent gap. Over the last five years, there have been 44 Fellows. Apply to be part of the class of 2012.
Teju Ravilochan is a co-founder of the Unreasonable Institute, an international accelerator for social ventures in Boulder, Colorado. This past summer the Institute brought together twenty-two social entrepreneurs across fifteen countries for a mentor-intensive program. Ravilochan reflects on the ten- week program and the major lessons he learned from the value of exposure to the importance of peer mentorship.
This past year our friends at First Light Ventures tried an innovative approach to seed investing. In four locations First Light committed a minimum of $150k and challenged entrepreneurs to vet their peers and make the investment decisions on behalf of their firms. These Village Capital Funds ultimately made investments in educational accountability software to direct trade coffee. This coming year First Light Ventures has partnered with one of their original partners at the Hub by committing a $750k seed fund.