1. Rosenthal, Eric T.

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It may sound like a Showtime program or a throwback to a former era's euphemistic name for what had then been a much-stigmatized disease, but the Livestrong Foundation's next big thing-"The Big C Competition"-is something more closely resembling ABC's "Shark Tank."

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Livestrong terms the venture, launched on World Cancer Day, a "global social innovation competition designed to improve the lives of people affected by cancer."


What that translates to is a contest open to individuals or teams with ideas they'd like to carry to fruition that would improve the quality of life of cancer patients, survivors, and everyone one else touched by cancer, and benefit from seed funding and mentoring.


Livestrong President and CEO Doug Ulman wasn't available for an interview since he was on a fundraising expedition climbing Mr. Kilimanjaro at the time, so spokesperson Rae Bazzarre explained that the name for the competition was chosen during staff brainstorming sessions that sought to capture people's attention through a term that had been used when talking about a taboo.


"We wanted to say we are talking about cancer-socially, publicly, and in a big bold way," she said, noting that the initiative was new for Livestrong but in line with what the organization considers a history of taking nontraditional approaches to fighting cancer.


Similar types of challenges have been held recently by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT ("Crowds Care for Cancer Challenge: Supporting Survivors"); the Knight Foundation (Knight News Challenge); the New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (NYC BigApps Competition); and Dell and the University of Texas at Austin (Dell Social Innovation Challenge).


Livestrong's competition is produced in partnership with Verb Inc., a new company specifically focused on such social entrepreneurship competitions. Verb had formerly been an incubator entity that worked exclusively with the University of Texas and Dell, and this is its first outside project.


Entries will be accepted through May 15, with 20 of the top 150 applicants moving on to a "venture accelerator phase" from July 14 through September 15 where they will team up with cancer survivors and business mentors to help implement the ideas. The plan is to announce the five finalists on September 29, who will then travel to Austin in mid-October during the "Team Livestrong Challenge Austin" to make their presentations.


The grand prize winner will receive $25,000, and an additional $115,000 will be disbursed in varying amounts to another 59 ventures.


The overall competition will include approximately 400 judges representing the social innovation industry; entrepreneurs; venture capitalists who could be potential investors; and the cancer community including cancer survivors.


There are five category tracks:


* Rebuilding Financial Health-A Cancer Diagnosis Shouldn't Equal Financial Catastrophe;


* Regaining Emotional Well-Being-Finding a Sense of Security After Cancer;


* Caring for Caregivers-Families, Friends, and Caregivers Are Fighting Cancer Too;


* Improving Access to Quality Care-Helping Cancer Patients Get the Care They Need; and


* Filling the Knowledge Gap-Empowering Patients' Informed Decisions Through Education.



Further information is available at, and submitted applications can be viewed as they are posted.