‘SOUP’ feeds innovative ideas at the national level

Visalia Chamber of Commerce crowdfunding event wins National Innovation Award

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – No matter the size of the towns Chamber of Commerce they are always looking to have a positive impact on the community. That is why they are always looking for creative ideas for events and programs.

At the fourth annual Chamber Innovation Awards Competition the Visalia Chamber of Commerce’s SOUP program was awarded the 2017 Innovation Award in the medium chamber class.

The Visalia program uses crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, and others to promote community-based development.

“Visalia SOUP supports Visalia’s best ideas to make our city stronger by promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. We’re proud to work with our local business partners to host Visalia SOUP, creating, opportunities for individuals to think outside the box,” said Gail Zurek President and CEO, Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

Entries were judged based on creativity, community impact, value to chamber, value to members, and replicability. The winners will also be featured in the nationally published 4th Annual Edition of the Chamber Idea Book.

SOUP provides a venue for residents and business owners to gather together, in order that the program help formulate ideas and help fund projects. Ideas submitted through the Visalia Chamber web site can range from starting a business to a community project. Then a committee of community partners narrows the entries to four. At each SOUP event those four finalists are given four minutes to present their ideas.

A suggested donation of $5 is all it takes to get into the event. Included is a bowl of soup, bread and a vote. People attending are encouraged to think outside the box, adopt the entrepreneurial mindset, and walk away feeling like they had a hand in the program.

The first winner of Visalia’s SOUP program, martial arts classes for autistic children, was awarded $1,500.

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