Marriott Alumni Magazine

Ballard Center 2015-16 Annual Report

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Page 14 of 27

Social Venture Academy is a Ballard Center resource to help student social entrepreneurs make their social venture ideas a reality. The Academy guides student teams through a three-part curriculum: idea validation, product validation, and venture modeling. Students who complete the curriculum earn funding and the credibility of a venture that is sustainable, replicable, and impactful. For example, completing the green card process with the help of an attorney typically starts at around $2,500, while completing the process through SimpleCitizen costs only $250. Additionally, it simplifies every step of the green card, renewal, and citizenship process by providing tutorials, lawyer reviews, easy uploading, and even interview scheduling at the nearest US Citizenship and Immigration Services office. According to Stoddard, SimpleCitizen "takes what has traditionally been cumbersome paperwork and makes it easy and online." SimpleCitizen aspires to be an accessible and affordable online solution for immigrants pursuing US naturalization or a green card. And with a 100 percent success rate so far, it looks as though it is just that. "i'm almost an entrePreneur by acCident in the fact that I was going to school and my wife had to gO thrOugh thIs prOcess and It was a pain." —sam stoddard The company's success and innovative product haven't gone unnoticed. SimpleCitizen was recently accepted into the coveted Y Combinator—the same incubator that mentored Dropbox and Airbnb. An impressive network and some extra funding will support its next phase. To date it has received over $700,000 in funding. 15

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