Thania Panopoulos – Impact Engine
Social entrepreneurship has recently made its way into the venture capital community through a unique startup accelerator, Impact Engine. Founder Thania Panopoulos, a West Michigan native, venture capitalist, and philanthropist, has her unique fingerprint on the new accelerator.
“I believe very much in the intersection between commerce and philanthropy,” she says. “We have to find a sustainable way to solve our world’s issues, without relying on the government.”
Based in Chicago, Impact Engine is the first startup accelerator focused exclusively on investing in social entrepreneurs, a practice Panopoulos calls Impact Investing. Launching in September of 2012, the accelerator will provide $20,000 in seed capital to eight to twelve for-profit companies founded to solve a social cause. Impact Engine will provide hands-on mentorship to participating companies throughout a 12-week program, as well as access to industry leaders in one of the Midwest’s hottest startup hubs.
Panopoulos brings a strong background of entrepreneurship to the operations of Impact Engine, having started her own integrated marketing services business, and then beginning a career in investing in startup companies. But more than just business, Panopoulos is focused on social entrepreneurship.
Impact Engine is the latest in a string of socially focused ventures Panopoulos has started. In a volunteer role at a home for abandoned children in Guatemala, she worked with locals to start businesses in woodworking, tilapia farming, and tile sales.
Amazing things can happen when social entrepreneurship meets philanthropy. At the nexus of this intersection, Thania Panopoulos continues the task of building social enterprises in the Midwest.
|Venture Stage| Venture backed companies are categorized as businesses that have received an investment from a venture capitalist. Investments are made in startup companies with considerable risk and high growth potential.
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