2017 Cleveland GiveBackHack Impact Report


On April 21, 2017, 75 people left their 40+ hour work week, showed up at StartMart in downtown Cleveland and committed an entire weekend to bringing a social impact idea into reality.

GiveBackHack is the launchpad for social innovation. Born right here in Ohio, GiveBackHack connects the tech and social impact communities – two groups that do not come together often enough – to learn from each other for the benefit of both. It blends startup concepts – rapid prototyping, iteration, risk tolerance — with domain expertise in the social impact space to create the building blocks for social enterprise. Participants come to the weekend with a brand new or partially vetted idea for a social enterprise and leave with the first stages of a user-validated product, and business & impact models.

Participant Outcomes

  • 75 attendees participated on teams
  • 90% of participants rated event support, check-ins and mentorship as effective
  • 13 newly formed social enterprises presented their ideas during final pitches
  • 15% (2 of 13) of teams were awarded financial resources
  • 30% (4 of 13) of teams are still making progress today
  • 100% (13 of 13) of teams presented minimum viable products, social impact, and business models
  • 100% (13 of 13) of teams received post-event resources (including marketing, law, accounting, software)
  • 100% of attendees believe Cleveland is a better place for having GiveBackHack

Funded Teams


$2,500 in funding from CoverMyMeds to further vet and validate its mission of celebrating African-American culture and business owners in Cleveland.
$3,900+ of resources were also provided through GiveBackHack community partners.
Afrofest is using these resources to further test their model. For the past few months, Iris and her team have been outreaching to the African and African American communities in Cleveland to ensure that this is an event the community wants and needs and drum up excitement.They will be beta-testing their idea with a smaller-scale celebration, inviting business owners & community members in to showcase African-owned businesses and culture.

“When I first walked in to GiveBackHack, I didn’t see anyone like me. I wasn’t sure if I should pitch my idea or not. The weekend, though, was life changing. I did not know how I would start AfroFest but the encouragement of the organizers and the energy of the final pitch started me on the path of where AfroFest is today.”
– Iris Hicks, AfroFest


$500 was provided by CoverMyMeds to further vet and validate its mission of connecting veterans in crisis with resources, sponsors, and emergency services.
$3,900+ of resources were also provided through GiveBackHack community partners.
VetAlert is using these funds to further test a beta version of their alerting system. For the past few months, they’ve been interviewing potential users and researching similar products to better understand the market. The team will host an open house in April to collect feedback on their latest insights.

“Before GiveBackHack, I had never started or successfully created a company. I’m grateful for the weekend and the resources I continue to have from it – co-founders, JumpStart connections and more.”
– Chanel Williams, VetAlert

Other GiveBackHack Cleveland 2017 Teams Still Making Progress


CoffeeQ (https://coffeeq.org/) is a pay-it-forward platform currently beta-testing at coffee shops around Cleveland.
Connected with their first coffeeshop partner at GiveBackHack – Six Shooter Coffee was our in-kind provider of caffeine for the weekend.
Use Trello as their scheduling software after winning three months of Trello Gold.

Parents in Motion (PIM)

Charisma Curry of P.I.M. pitched her existing idea at GiveBackHack.
Currently working with JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland program (https://www.jumpstartinc.org/blog/charisma-curry-making-life-easier-busy-families/).

2017 Sponsors

Lead Sustaining Sponsor: CoverMyMeds

Key Sustainability Partnerships


Event Partner

City of Cleveland Department of Economic Development

Community Advocates
Venture for America
Coffee and Code
Vertical Knowledge
Cards for All People
Hack Cleveland
Aviatra Accelerators

In-Kind Partners
Aunt Flow
Six Shooter Coffee
Scout Books
Prosper for Purpose
Heck’s Cafe
Bloom Bakery
Mitchell’s Ice Cream