Pitching Virtual Exchange at SVP Fast Pitch

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Pitching Virtual Exchange at SVP Fast Pitch

Category : News & Media

On October 27, 2015, OneWorld Now! participated in the 5th annual Social Venture Partners’ Fast Pitch.

SVP Fast Pitch is a business pitch competition for innovative nonprofit and for-profit social impact entrepreneurs – organizations that are solving today’s important social problems and making a positive impact in the Greater Puget Sound area. In its first four years, SVP Fast Pitch has connected social impact entrepreneurs with over $1.2 million in investments and grants. Thanks to their generous sponsors they raised the 2015 award pool to $375,000 – $125,000 in grants and $250,000 in investments. While OneWorld Now! didn’t walk away with a first place prize, the experience of pitching and presenting to 1,000 was priceless.
“Being a Finalist in the SVP Fast Pitch was a really rewarding experience. The SVP coaches and volunteers were really supportive, and what a thrill to speak in front of nearly 1,000 people. It’s great recognition of how OWN continues to innovate as we head into our 14th year of programming.” – Jennifer Tanaka, OWN Executive Director

Missed the SVP Fast Pitch? Read the transcript.

IMG_4214 My name is Jennifer Tanaka. I was born and raised here in the Seattle area. Like many young people today, I grew up with a lot of uncertainties about my identity; my self-worth and sense of purpose. Then, in the early 1990s I studied abroad in Romania, and it proved to be a pivotal moment in my life. It was the opportunity to develop relationships with people living in vastly different conditions, with different worldviews and cultural backgrounds that enabled me to learn about myself; to realize there is much more out there to see and do – beyond the familiarity of my life in Seattle…. It led to 20 years of working abroad on minority rights and leadership. I recently returned to Seattle and today am leading OneWorld Now! – an organization that continues to recreate stories like mine for today’s youth. IMG_4216 For 13 years, OneWorld Now! has been changing the lives of thousands of low-income minority high school students through a model of language learning, leadership development and study abroad. We see our students gain self-confidence; become more open toward themselves and others, and of the 98% that go on to college, more and more are landing international careers, including the State Department, Department of Energy and United Nations. But our problem is that study abroad to critical regions we focus on, like China and the Middle East, costs around $5,000 per student. It is cost-prohibitive for most families. Today, less than 1% of all high school and 1% of college students in the US study abroad. 1% is not enough to ensure that our youth:
  • get the self-awareness to really understand themselves in the world.
  • develop the business skills needed to maintain and grow our role in today’s globalized economy.
  • and as our future leaders, have the mindsets to more strongly contribute to peace and stability.
IMG_4219 Through innovation and our award-winning model, we can give 20 times more students a broader world perspective at less than one quarter the cost. We can open up opportunities for more underserved students by harnessing the potential of today’s technology. Our innovation involves taking our proven leadership curriculum and adapting it to an online platform so that we can connect students in Seattle with peers from China and the broader Middle East. We will use existing platforms, like Google and WeChat. You may be thinking, “isn’t this just penpals”?   We’ve found that the key to a meaningful and purposeful experiences is a guided exchange based on a curriculum with clear learning objectives For example, one lesson has students here in Seattle, in Rabat and in Beijing learn about each other’s culture through local street art. IMG_4222 Each student is asked to take a photos in their town, and upload it to the shared platform. Students are then guided through the exchange with questions like:
  • Who do you think created this, and why?
  • What themes are being explored?
  • How does it reflect your social norms and cultural values?
We will engage at least 10,000 students in the first five years through both in- and out- of school programs. Through a series of interactive lessons students get much needed 21st Century Skills: skills like emotional intelligence, empathy toward others, cross-cultural collaborations and how to work remotely in groups. They also build relationships with peers from other critical regions of the world. IMG_4223 IMG_4224 Our innovation will be sustained with a combination of strategies – both grants and service fees. We will leverage new types of grants related to STEM, use of technology in education, and the State Department’s growing support of virtual exchanges. In addition to grants, revenues from a series of initiatives, including tuition from our global leadership program, new after-school clubs, and fees from participating classrooms and students. Our team has the experience grow and adapt our work. Management and business. Language and cultural expertise. And the hands on experience creating inspiring programming for high school students IMG_4226 Our ask here for SVP Fast Pitch is $25,000 so that we can adapt our curriculum, solidify partnerships, and begin rolling out the exchanges by next spring. More broadly, if you see the value of cross-cultural exchanges, of creating this opportunity for all young people, especially those farthest from accessing international education, then I ask you to contact us. We need your support for building the collaborations needed to scale opportunities, break through the 1% and connect more and more of our future global leaders. Thank you.

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