If I had a billion dollars, I’d fund them all.

For those of us who believe in the social enterprise model, December 5 was a great day.

Azadi delivers one of the day's best pitches

Azadi delivers one of the day’s best pitches

Impact Engine held its first Investor Day at Chase Auditorium, and Chicago’s first social enterprise incubator did not disappoint. All seven startups in their inaugural cohort gave pitches that were clear, concise and creative, demonstrating equal parts social consciousness and business smarts. Together, they proved profit-driven innovation can create solutions to some of the world’s most dire problems.

For the complete rundown of how I rated each startup, see my article in Technori today. Suffice it to say each presentation ranked in the upper ranks of all the pitches I’ve seen over the last year. The founders made it look easy, which attests to how hard they must have prepared. The crew at Impact Engine deserves a lot of credit.

I first wrote about Impact Engine back in March, when I was a lot less savvy about startups in general and social enterprise in particular. Everything I’ve learned since then makes it all the more impressive that these seven companies should be so solidly poised to succeed.

Most of them won’t. That’s just the way it goes.

But their pitches surely opened some eyes in the investing community about the potential of social enterprise. Save the world and make money doing it? It’s gonna happen.

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