Want $20,000 to Change the World? Founder of Lululemon Ready to Help

Photo credit: Urban Mixer | Flickr

Photo credit: Urban Mixer | Flickr

Have an idea to change the world but just need a bit of seed money to get it off the ground? Vancouver’s own Chip Wilson may be able to help.

The founder of Lululemon, who recently left his position as chairman of the company, has announced a new initiative: a Dragon’s-Den-style contest to identify, fund and advise the best charitable projects.

Dubbed the Accelerator Fund, the program will provide from $5,000-$20,000 in funding to winning projects selected by Wilson’s panel of expert advisors, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.  Winners will also receive guidance from special mentors to make sure their projects get off the ground.

The initiative is part of Wilson’s imagine1day charity, which focuses mainly on supporting education and school construction in Ethiopia.  It hopes to invest $200,000 in its first year alone in especially promising projects, with the goal of raising $1 million to support the program down the road.

The concept behind the Accelerator Fund is something that the charity calls – somewhat awkwardly – “creatribution.”  Rather than just having people donate money to a cause, the idea is to find creatively-minded individuals who are passionate about a particular issue and want to get their hands dirty.

There’s also an entrepreneurial element.  Projects selected must be viable from a business standpoint and sustainable over the long haul.

Possible initiatives range from special events, to products and even apps, all focused on improving education opportunities in Ethiopia. Imagine1day has already funded “creatributors” who have put together underground dinner parties, fundraising concerts, sporting events and more, according to the Sun article.

Have an idea that you think might make a difference? Pitches for potential projects are being accepted until Jan. 17 on the imagine1day website.  The best ideas will be assigned an advisor for help in preparing a special presentation to be given before a panel of social entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and philanthropists.

For more updates on Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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2 Responses to Want $20,000 to Change the World? Founder of Lululemon Ready to Help

  1. Tammy Guy

    Yes give the poor people that you have making these ludicrous pants tops accessories a raise and to those that purchase it Shame!

  2. Andy Dunn

    I guess this fits in with his Ayn Randian ‘philosophy’ – philanthropy and selective charity (determined by his team of ‘expert advisers’) instead of social and economic justice for everyone. Or maybe it’s just that my overpriced yoga pants are a smidge too tight.

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