Companies that pay for your passion

The Internet has long been an incubator for brilliant ideas where entire industries have been revolutionized. With celebrities receiving overwhelming support for their passion projects, major companies are trying to capture some of that buzz by launching campaigns to give creative minds the capital to have their dreams come to life.

American Express #PassionProject 

Every new promotion has a hashtag these days. Here it make sense, since American Express is looking to generate social media excitement through a newly-launched YouTube channel that lets users to upload a video detailing the projects that are close to their hearts. Until the end of the year, American Express will select ten winners to receive a $2,000 award that will help them start their passion projects. To get the YouTube channel off the ground, American Express has enlisted Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, and Rebecca Lando, the author of The Working Class Foodies, to create the first videos on the channel — showcasing how their projects changed the game.

Scion Motivate

We don’t usually associate car companies with entrepreneurial contests, but Scion stepped up with an offer that young idealists couldn’t afford to pass up. In March, the company invited 50 entrepreneurs to Los Angles for its Motivate event. Ten winners took home one year of professional mentoring, $10,000 t0 go to the project and a brand-new Scion. Not a bad first company car.

Among the projects funded: a hiking gear company, a theater company specializing in oversized masks and a Nashville music company that provides youth musicians free access to instruments.

Pepsi Refresh Project

Back before the crowdfunding boom took off, way back in 2010, Pepsi set out to fund thousands of projects by allowing people to vote online for the best ideas. Coke drinkers might not have noticed the massive advertising effort Pepsi put forth, and despite the company canning the project, it was successful in funding a number of green initiatives – proving that soda isn’t all that bad for you.

Follow Chris Longo on Twitter @east_coastbias


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