Here in Austin, I just finished introducing SparkHelp, the project Mashable has decided to support for the Pepsi Refresh SxSW Challenge. We’re competing against two other teams over the next few days to help get our idea $50,000 in funding, which will help make it a reality.
After lots of great submissions from our readers, we settled on SparkHelp’s simple and timely concept that we think stands to make a huge social impact with the resources of Pepsi and our support.
Here’s how SparkHelp explains their concept:
“SparkHelp’s idea is to encourage local communities to band together with a Foursquare meets Craigslist application. The idea is simple: anyone can place a call for help and anyone can answer that call. Help can be sought for anything: fence repair, car repair, computer work, dog walking, etc.”
With the increasing popularity of location-based apps on smartphones, think about being able to turn on SparkHelp when you have a couple hours free to find a project in your neighborhood – from the simple helping a neighbor in need to helping build a local playground. This makes getting involved simple, timely, and free of any long-term commitment.
We think this vision can be realized with a $50,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project, allowing the team behind SparkHelp – lead by Brian Milner – to build its website as well as the apps for all of the major mobile platforms.
How to Support It
The winner will be chosen based on which project gets the most tweets that include its own unique hashtag. Our hashtag is #RefreshMashable – if you believe in the SparkHelp concept, be sure to include it on all of your tweets until voting ends on Monday, March 15th, at 11:59 CT. You can follow the voting in real-time on the Refresh SXSW Facebook Page.
Also, if you’re at SXSW, your registration bag includes a “VOTE” button with room to write in the project you’re supporting – you can add the #RefreshMashable tag there as well (find me if you need a sharpie!). The SparkHelp team has also setup a Twitter account where you can track progress and activities. Thanks for your support!
Adam and Brian Do Oprah Radio
Brian and I also got a chance to appear on the Derrick Ashong Experience on Oprah Radio earlier today to talk about the project. Here’s a snapshot: