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Twitter Roundup – July 2: Omidyar gives $2.3 million to boost democracy, Tesla goes public, Panera expands pay-what-you-wish

   /   Jul 2nd, 2010Government, News

Search for the hashtag #socent and you’ll find wide-ranging interest in social entrepreneurship on Twitter. Here’s a roundup of a few thought-provoking tweets from the last week:

The Guardian‘s Michael Brunton-Spall (@bruntonspall) reported from the Activate Summit in London that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network announced grants totaling $2.3 million to three organizations using technology to hold governments accountable. The recipients are Global Voices, which fosters citizen journalism in developing countries; mySociety, which builds websites and digital tools to boost democracy in the UK and Africa; and the XYZ show, a Kenyan political satire TV program.

Electric car maker Tesla Motors went public in a much-hyped IPO Tuesday. The brainchild of Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX, Tesla soared in value to over $2 billion on the day. The company, which is leading the way in electric vehicle innovation, certainly knows how to make cars that look great.

A Whole Foods (@wholefoods) store in Virginia will begin an experiment this year growing produce on-site. A one-acre plot, incorporating an orchard, composting, and several gardens, will produce fruit and vegetables to supply the store’s prepared foods and salad bar section. Whole Foods is touting the initiative as a way to shrink its carbon footprint. PR move or promising innovation? We’ll see. Thanks to the awesome Slow Food Twitter feed (@SlowFoodUSA) for flagging this!

And here’s a quick followup to a story we featured last month in the Twitter Roundup—remember national restaurant chain Panera Bread’s pay-what-you-wish concept? Well, according to figures released to the Associated Press, it’s working. Approximately 60-70% of people pay the price in full, 15% pay more, and 15% pay less or nothing at all–enough to start covering Panera’s costs. Having proven the concept, Panera plans to expand the program.

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