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Published: Saturday, 3/3/2012

Entrepreneurs to pitch projects

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo SOUP will host its first gathering Sunday, joining a network of more than 60 similar groups worldwide.

Five presenters will pitch their entrepreneurial start-up projects before those who attend the soup dinner, prepared by guest chefs Pam Weirauch of Pam's Corner and Timothy Wright.

Attendees pay $5 at the door. They eat soup, listen to the presentations, and vote on their favorite proposal at the end. The winner takes home the money made at the door. The group hopes for between 50 and 100 attendees. The event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Davis Building lobby, 116 10th St.

According to the Sunday Soup Web site, 61 groups have awarded more than $56,000 in microgrants at programs across the United States and overseas.

Toledo's group is the first effort in Ohio. The Toledo group hopes to make Toledo SOUP a quarterly event, rotating the dinner to different area venues.

The organizers are all nonpaid volunteers who saw a Web program about the soup movement and decided to bring it to Toledo, inspired by a soup dinner they attended in Detroit.

"From that, people decided they were going to make it happen in Toledo, said Paula Ross, one of the organizers.

Ms. Ross, research associate at the University of Toledo's Urban Affairs Center and board member of local nonprofit Toledo Choose Local, said 32 proposals were whittled down to five by a proposal review subcommittee.

"We hope to see a wide range of proposals from the realm of small business, the arts, urban agriculture, local food, as well as local charities and community groups from all over the Toledo region, for-profit and nonprofit, individuals and groups," states the Web site, toledosoup.com.

The five finalists for the first event are tart::projects, a newly formed organization geared toward promoting excellence in the arts; Glass City Pedicabs, a bicycle taxi company; Glass City Goat Gals, a vision to start a vegetation management and weed-control business; Toledo's PETbull Project, which seeks to promote education for owners and the public about "pit bull" breeds, and the Force Within Community Garden, a youth group that meets in ONE Village.

Cindy Reinsel, who teaches humane education classes at Toledo's juvenile detention center, and founder of Toledo's PETbull Project, said the group is "big on education. We need to educate everyone from preschool to nursing home age on treating pets humanely. There are people who say that these at-risk youth will not listen, but I have proof that they do. I do an evaluation after each class that shows a difference in the way they look at animal cruelty."

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.



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