SEED20 is an annu­al com­pe­ti­tion for social entre­pre­neurs pre­sent­ed by Social Ven­ture Part­ners. Each year they select twen­ty deserv­ing non­prof­its from the Char­lotte area, help them through coach­ing to refine their pitch, and then choose the ten best to present at SEED20 OnStage to a live audi­ence and com­pete for awards. This last year, there were over 500 in atten­dance, and $60,000 award­ed.

SEED20 is also one of our favorite clients. In their fifth year, of which we’ve been involved four, we want to take a look at every­thing we’ve cre­at­ed togeth­er: hun­dreds of videos (one which won an Emmy), a touch­screen sculp­ture, and a web­site to pow­er it all.

Pitch videos

Once the twen­ty are select­ed, one of the first steps is to intro­duce them to the pub­lic. This gives the par­tic­i­pants an ear­ly oppor­tu­ni­ty to cap­ture the public’s imag­i­na­tion, and test their ini­tial skills pre­sent­ing their orga­ni­za­tions, while giv­ing SEED20 some ear­ly con­tent to use in pro­mot­ing the event to fol­low. The chal­lenge here is to work with the non­prof­its before they have had a chance to go through the coach­ing process and refine their pitch — for them this is the very begin­ning, and many have nev­er show­cased their efforts pub­licly before. We work them to help chan­nel their untold sto­ries and excite­ment into a brief and con­fi­dent intro­duc­to­ry intro­duc­tion.

Short films

Nar­ra­tive film­mak­ing is one of our favorite things to do. With Seed20, we have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to tell some great sto­ries that that help con­nect the pow­er­ful and emo­tion­al sto­ries of pre­sen­ters with poten­tial con­trib­u­tors, atten­dees, and future par­tic­i­pants.

From an intro­duc­tion to SEED20 and the OnStage event, to how SEED20 par­tic­i­pants make a dif­fer­ence, and the lega­cy SEED20 has already cre­at­ed in its five years, these pieces are among our favorite work.

Touchscreen sculpture


In 2012, SEED20 had the idea to take the sto­ries of their entre­pre­neurs, and meet their audi­ence where they were — in this case, in the gath­er­ing places of Char­lotte. We col­lab­o­rat­ed with the design­ers and builders at Big Bad Props to build an inter­ac­tive mov­ing tree sculp­ture with a large touch­screen for play­ing videos of SEED20 non­prof­its. And we cre­at­ed the inter­face with touch-opti­mized HTML and Javascript — basi­cal­ly an exten­sion of their exist­ing web­site, but host­ed local­ly on the sculp­ture itself.

Over the course of a month, the instal­la­tion moved through­out town, giv­ing every­one a chance to play. It’s final des­ti­na­tion was the recep­tion hall on the night of the big event, pro­vid­ing a fun con­ver­sa­tion piece and a handy ref­er­ence for the orga­ni­za­tions being rep­re­sent­ed on stage.


In the fifth year of the event, the body of videos rep­re­sent­ing all the entre­pre­neurs who have par­tic­i­pat­ed had out­grown the web­site. SEED20 need­ed a site that could bet­ter sur­face this, and be a plat­form for more ongo­ing out­reach through­out the year as well.


We built mobile-first, as we often do for sites like this, since so many peo­ple will be vis­it­ing on their phones via links shared on social media. The inter­face is easy to use with nice large but­tons for the pre­sen­ters, and because we have such great pho­tog­ra­phy to pull from, the design ele­ments fall to the back­ground in sup­port of the imagery. The site is also many times over more sim­ple to update with sim­ple drag & drop page lay­out con­trols and options for near­ly every design fea­ture, mak­ing it easy to keep things fresh going for­ward, even by staff with no pri­or expe­ri­ence.

Digital Impact Award

In 2015, we want­ed to find a way to help one of the lead­ing run­ners up at SEED20 — a non­prof­it who has poten­tial, and could be served by a sol­id web­site, an inter­est­ing video, or both. So we cre­at­ed the Dig­i­tal Impact Award, worth $10,000 of in-kind ser­vices, and gave the inau­gur­al award on stage to the deserv­ing crew at ACE Your Prostate Exam.

This year, we were excit­ed to give this award to Focus Char­lotte, and are look­ing for­ward to help­ing them bet­ter tell their amaz­ing sto­ry of help­ing Viet­namese refugees to their cur­rent and poten­tial audi­ences on the web.

Here’s to many more great years of SEED20, and hun­dreds of new, excit­ing social entre­pre­neurs!

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