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New Accelerator Conscious Venture Lab Launches Inaugural Class

October 23, 2013

COLUMBIA, M.D. -­‐ Conscious Venture Lab (CVLab) the Accelerator of the David B. Wolfe Institute for Conscious Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA), is opening its first application round to entrepreneurs from around the country.

Five companies will be selected for the first class. The CVLab will invest between $25,000 and $50,000 in each business. Applications will be accepted via the Conscious Venture Lab website (www.consciousventurelab.com) starting October 23, 2013, ending December 18, 2013. The first class will commence in January 2014 and run through June 2014.

“This program is another example of innovation in economic development,” said Lawrence F. Twele, Chief Executive Officer of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. “We are delighted the Porter Group chose Howard County to develop this exciting program. Their mission aligns perfectly with our goals for the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.”

The CVLab will be housed at the HCEDA’s Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship. The venture was conceived by Jeff Cherry, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of the Porter Group, the private investment firm that will operate the program and provide funding to the companies. The mission of Conscious Venture Lab is to foster 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’re developing a curriculum to get conscious companies to "launch velocity" within a 6-­‐month period by focusing on what we call the three C’s: Consciousness, Customers and Capital,” said Cherry. “That is, creating conscious leaders and business models, helping them develop no-­‐nonsense customer acquisition capabilities and preparing them to attract new investment capital upon graduation.”

The mentor and curriculum driven program will provide entrepreneurs a foundation in building a company with purpose, while also focusing on the tools and skills needed to build highly executable business models and high-­‐performance cultures.

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 Dr. Susan Salgado and her team from Hospitality Quotient, one of the leading organizational culture consulting companies in the country.

In keeping with the multi-­‐stakeholder ethos the CVLab will also be launching a crowd funding campaign to engage with those who want to see capitalism as a force for good in society. That campaign is expected to launch in November 2013.

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. David's wife Linda Wolfe commented: "David was very passionate about the power of capitalism to help create a better world. I know he would be very proud to be associated with this project and I wish Jeff and his team all the success in the world!"

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