Here in northern New Mexico, we are beginning to see the signs of autumn, and here at Beyond Laundry, we are beginning to reap the harvest from all of our hard work over the summer.
It began with winning third place in Copenhagen Business School's Social Entrepreneurship business plan competition. I will be forever grateful to CBS for the Social Entrepreneurship MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that I took for 12 weeks this summer, and not just because of winning third place out of 355 participants. It was joining this MOOC that allowed me to finally move forward with my vision for a "green" laundry center, form a wonderful and supportive team of co-founders with Santi Lisana and Arun Gopalakrishnan, and get the business plan written.
Like that moment in time when all of a sudden the crop is ripe and ready to pick, this past week has brought three more wonderful things our way. First, we found out that our application for a technical assistance grant through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program was approved. This brings us $20,000-worth of technical assistance provided through Los Alamos National Laboratory. We're now working with one of their engineers who is an expert in the areas of alternative, sustainable energy and water energy systems. He's helping us to design integrated modules for our laundry centers. Mark Goldman and I are working together very closely with LANL, as it is his company, Onyx Construction, who will ultimately build these modules.
While I was still riding high from our first conference call with LANL, I found out the next day that we made it as one of ten finalists in the Good Money Challenge, which is hosted by the Social Innovation Initiative at Marquette University and sponsored by the Brady Corporation. As a finalist we will get one-on-one mentoring from someone at the Brady Corporation and will go to Milwaukee on November 13th to participate in a pitch competition with a first prize of $14,000. This is quite an honor!
Last but not least, I found out this morning that an article in The Guardian, for which I was interviewed a while back, has been published. It's about businesses that are embracing the circular economy, and you can read it here.
All in all, the harvest is turning out to be more abundant than I could have imagined back in April when, with pounding heart and sweaty palms, I first posted my idea for a green laundry center on the Social Entrepreneurship MOOC discussion board. I want to offer my profound thanks to our awesome team, everyone who supported us in the crowdfunding campaign, Copenhagen Business School, NMSBA and LANL, the Good Money Challenge, and The Guardian for believing in Beyond Laundry and helping us get where we are today. Onward!