Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Conscious Venture Lab Extends Call for Applications

September 17 New Deadline for Enrollment of Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs COLUMBIA, MD. September 2, 2014 Conscious Venture Lab (CVLab), the Accelerator of the David B. Wolfe Institute for Conscious Entrepreneurship, is extending its deadline for applications for entrepreneurs interested in joining the next cohort.
 As we near the end of our first cohort the CVLab is poised to become one of the leading business accelerators in the United States focused on purpose driven companies, said Jeff Cherry, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Porter Group, the private investment firm that operates the program and provides funding to the companies.

Five companies will be selected for the new cohort. The CVLab will invest between $25,000 and $50,000 in each of the businesses. Applications are being accepted via the Conscious Venture Lab website September 17, 2014. The new class will commence in October 2014 and run through March 2015.

We firmly believe initiatives like the Conscious Venture Lab represent the future of innovative economic development, said Lawrence F. Twele, Chief Executive Officer of the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA). We partnered with the Porter Group because Howard County is the kind of forward thinking community where purpose driven entrepreneurs can flourish and thrive.

The CVLab has a co-working space at the HCEDAs Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. The CVLab runs an intense consultative program that supports companies and leaders who embrace the power of capitalism as a force for good in society. Cherry was an early adopter of the move towards investing in companies operating a multi-stakeholder management system.

We are extremely pleased with the outcome of our first cohort and look forward to presenting our first five companies Self Spark, Spend Consciously, Shea Radiance, Shenami and Just Good to venture investors from around the country this coming September, said Cherry.  We know that well have an equally accomplished and exciting set of companies applying for inclusion in the next cohort as well.

The mentor and curriculum driven program provides entrepreneurs a foundation for building a company based on purpose, while also focusing on the tools and skills needed to build highly sustainable business models and high-performance cultures.

"The best thing for me has honestly been the emphasis on purpose. CVL has used this to teach us how to pitch from the heart. We can now put the why behind everything we're doing and make our story clear, said James Norris, CEO of Self Spark a behavioral research lab that is one of the graduating class companies of the CVLab. The CVLab team has also been extremely helpful in connecting us to high value contacts.

The CVLab has teamed with some of the best thinkers and entrepreneurs from around the country to provide coaching and mentorship. They include: Ed Freeman, Academic Director of the Institute for Business in Society at the Darden School, University of Virginia; Professor Raj Sisodia, TEDx speaker and author of Firms of Endearment and Conscious Capitalism; and CEOs like Tom Gardner of the Motley Fool!

In keeping with the multi-stakeholder ethos the CVLab will also be working with the HCEDA to once again include one not-for profit organization in the new cohort.

The Porter Group is dedicating this endeavor to the late David B. Wolfe, a friend and mentor. David was co-author of Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose.

 About HCEDA: The Howard County Economic Development Authority is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, targeting new businesses, and attracting corporate/regional headquarters. The Authority also maintains several programs aimed at the special needs of small and agricultural businesses. Additionally, the Authority strives to preserve the distinctive quality of life in Howard County. The Authority can be reached at