Positive change starts with belief. You, for example, might believe that business exists to improve lives. You might believe that innovative companies should be a force for good in the world, and you see no contradiction between making a profit and effecting meaningful, positive change in people's lives. And perhaps you have even created a company that acts on those beliefs.

If all that sounds like you, then we at Inc. would like you to meet Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS and one of the most dynamic, socially-mindful business leaders in the world. Through the TOMS Social Entrepreneurship Fund, Blake has pledged to put financial muscle behind the next wave of purposeful, committed, mission-driven companies. We at Inc. are partnering with TOMS to help find such companies and fuel the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

The Inc. + TOMS Pitch for Good is a program created by Inc. and TOMS to identify promising social businesses and invite a few of them to make their cases directly to a panel of judges, including Blake himself, at Inc.'s 2016 Growco Conference on May 17. From there, you could advance to final evaluation for a potential investment from TOMS Social Entrepreneurship Fund of up to $100,000, promotion on TOMS's and Inc.'s social-media platforms, and coverage in Inc.'s Positive Energy column.

What's it take to qualify for the Inc. + TOMS Pitch for Good? You must:

  • Be a for-profit business with an innovative business model that aims to create meaningful change.
  • Have a direct social mission (at scale) to make the world a better place.
  • Have launched already or be prepared to launch by September 1, 2016.
  • Have one or more clear revenue streams and paying customers.
  • If you're making a product, you must have the necessary skills to develop and manufacture it without outside expertise.
  • Have an investment presentation or business plan (minimum: 15 slides/pages) that describes the problem your company is solving; the market opportunity; the background qualifications of your team; and the financial terms of the investment opportunity.
  • Have at least $25,000 of commitments from other accredited investors, venture capital, or a startup accelerator.

If you think you're right for the Inc. + TOMS Pitch for Good, answer the questions below. TOMS and Inc. will review your responses with the goal of selecting a few applicants to proceed to the next round. If you're selected, you'll get two free tickets to Inc.'s Growco conference on May 17 in Las Vegas and the opportunity to pitch Blake and the other Inc. + TOMS Pitch for Good judges in person. The judges will advance one or more winners to a final evaluation, at which stage TOMS Social Entrepreneurship Fund will review the investment opportunity. The deadline to apply has been extended to March 18. Good luck!

The application period for Pitch for Good is now closed. Thank you for your interest! And keep tabs on how the pitches unfold at Inc.’s 2016 Growco.

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