“The bed bugs got us”

This is and isn’t about bed bugs. It’s also sad but hopeful. So I hope it will do as a “happy holidays” post.

In October I had the pleasure of meeting two wonderful New Yorkers who were working on a mattress recycling social enterprise startup. We talked shop. Bed bugs! You know where this is going, perhaps.

Inevitably and sadly their long-nurtured idea was declared not viable. Is this not so telling of the bed bug troubled times we are living in? And of the enormous gifts and contradictions of this city.

You can read about their decision here.

The good news is that the search is on for a new business idea. The formerly named Spring Into Action is sponsoring a contest to find a social enterprise idea they can develop.

I am very sad that they will not be launching a mattress recycling business in New York City (we so very badly need one), or a bed bug business in fact, but I hope you will check out their website and consider participating in their Ideas For Impact Challenge.

Their announcement today:

Late in October, we told you about our decision to shelve our mattress recycling business, ultimately due to the epidemic of tiny terrorists known as bed bugs in New York City. We also said that our passion was unabated for starting a business that would largely employ people who need a second chance in life (i.e. the formerly incarcerated, the homeless, or recovering addicts), and that we were searching for ideas for the right business.

To spur idea generation, we decided to sponsor what we’re calling The $25,000 Ideas For Impact Challenge. We’re excited to announce the launch of our new website (www.ideasforimpact.com) and the opening of the entry period. The site gives a brief history of our journey to date and outlines the rules, criteria, and timing for the Challenge. Please check it out – you’ll find the application is simple to complete.

Keep in mind:

The Challenge is to envision a business that can be consistently profitable in the New York City area, in order to create meaningful employment opportunities for people who need a second chance in life.

We need ideas for a business that:

1. Makes money because it satisfies a market need
2. Requires less than $1 million to break even
3. Creates low skill jobs with career growth opportunities

* The Challenge entry deadline is February 15th, 2011

We’re not asking for money. All we need is a little of your time to think about and send us your ideas. Also, we hope to expand the pool of people thinking about this to the greatest extent possible. It would mean the world to us if you’d send this email on to a few friends who might be interested in what we’re trying to do. You never know – you or a friend of yours may come up with the winning idea.

Thanks in advance for your help! Best wishes to you for a happy and healthy holiday, and everything you wish for in the New Year.

The Spring Into Action Team

Andy Potash, Katie Broadbent, Arthur Maas, and Andrea Potash

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