Want to change reality?
Do you look out at the world and think — this should just work differently? Ever pitch your friends on what you would launch or build, if only you had the skills, the resources, the time? Do you hear the stories of innovators and entrepreneurs and wonder if that could be you?
If so, you're going to want to join the Business Unusual community.
You‘ve seen those business reality shows where contestants pitch
their products in hopes of winning big bucks from an investor.
Business Unusual is completely different. It‘s about using the tools
of the entrepreneur to launch a different world.
You‘ve seen shows where chefs, designers and singers compete to
show they‘ve got what it takes. On Business Unusual, innovators
compete to change their workplaces and schools, their industries
and communities - their world. To replace the way we do things
today with something better.
You provide the ideas and drive. Business Unusual provides the stage and platform for you to transform your great idea into a viable innovation.
WE ARE NO LONGER ACCePTING APPLICATIONS for the pilot episode
Today we must remake entire industries and help communities reinvent themselves while we generate jobs for a new generation. To turn the tide, we need true and exciting stories about how regular people confront tragedy and fear with resourcefulness, teamwork, and entrepreneurship. As the world confronts unforeseen challenges, we need more than business as usual. We need BusinessUnusual, where regular people use the tools of the entrepreneur to launch a different world.
Those of us who love reality TV competitions are captivated by watching regular people strive to master the craft of the pastry chef, find their true love, dance or sing their hearts out. Following this entertaining format, Business Unusual spotlights the process of building a business with social values, featuring real people, in the game to earn impact as much as income.
Our competitors go through the excitement and trials of launching bold experiments to replace the broken systems that are failing us. Contestants strive to advance to the next challenge, while judges evaluate their work, from product prototypes to social media campaigns, for its capacity to disrupt industries and change the way we live.
Over the course of 13 episodes, teams pilot their enterprises and prove their potential to transform the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the supply chains that feed our industries, and the institutions that meet our communities’ needs. As in a classic competition show, contestants are eliminated until the final winner is proclaimed.
Our contestants come from colleges, chambers of commerce, incubators and accelerators serving local and regional communities, and inside companies, basement studios and garage workshops. In an epoch when the American dream can seem embattled, we’re putting the power in the hands of entrepreneurs and inviting viewers to cheer them on.
meet the teams selected
for the pilot episode
meet the production team
meet the judges and coaches
BUSINESS UNUSUAL IS A PROUD 2020 Award Winner
From the Roddenberry Foundation:
In light of the global spread of COVID-19, the logistics of everyday life have changed drastically for so many. During these difficult times, there is a desire to return to "normal." It is important to remember, however, that for many communities "normal" was not yet equal or equitable. As we come out of this pandemic — and we will — we will have the unique opportunity to create a world that is more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive.
To accelerate this change, the Roddenberry Foundation in partnership with A Day of Unreasonable Conversation granted ten $10K Roddenberry Impact Awards to ideas and projects that are making strides in one of the following areas: Inclusive Futures, Authentic Content Creation, and Increased Representation. Roddenberry Impact Awards were granted to television content creators who are committed to - and have innovative ideas and approaches for - reimagining the processes for writing and telling stories that are more equitable and inclusive.
A-RAY.TV ANNOUNCES PRODUCTION OF TV SERIES PILOT FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
(WESTON, CT) – Amy Kalafa, Executive Producer, announced that A-RAY Productions is filming a TV pilot for the new reality competition series, Business Unusual. The pilot episode introduces twelve teams of innovators, among them, MBAs, garage tinkerers, engineers and idealists, each with a passion to replace failing systems around them by building new solutions to meet our most pressing needs. Business Unusual takes a radical idea — that we need to ask the people closest to today’s problems to innovate tomorrow’s world — and turns it into televised drama.
As host Alejandro Crawford said in a recent Forbes profile, “Far too often we’re investing in the same people, with the same assumptions, coming up with the same kinds of ideas to solve the problems that seem pressing in their narrow world.” Utilizing Crawford’s RebelBaseTM innovation platform, which equips entrepreneurial rebels with accessible workshops and tools to launch their dreams, the teams have been refining their projects since November, and are now preparing for the main event of the Pilot Episode, which is their audition pitch in front of the Business Unusual judges. The judges will determine which teams move on to the next episode in the competition.
“Thanks to the Roddenberry Impact Award, we’ve been able to move forward with production of the pilot episode. Doing the bulk of the filming remotely has allowed us to include teams from Bangladesh and Palestine, so we are truly mentoring innovators poised to make a global impact,” says Kalafa.
The innovations featured include a three-wheeled electric roadster that has motorheads and environmentalists drooling, a marketplace for hard-to-find products for the differently-abled, a construction startup that renovates distressed properties with top-tier sustainability standards for low-income residents, a rental service for kids clothing, and an enclosed last-mile delivery system on rails that uses minuscule amounts of energy to move small goods rapidly and efficiently.
“Each of these entrepreneurial rebels is envisioning how the world could work differently, how something superior could meet needs that aren’t being met,” Crawford says. “We’re helping them access the tools, resources, and talent they need to launch or scale their ventures,” adds Kalafa.
“The diversity of projects and presenters is inspiring, and some of the ideas have the potential to change the world,” says Will Carlin, CEO of Speakable, Inc., an organization that develops high-stakes presentations for both startups and Fortune 500 executives. The Speakable methodology powers the RebelBase learning module that entrepreneurial rebels use to develop their pitches. “It will be interesting to see which entrepreneurs can create and deliver a presentation that’s worthy of their ideas.” With a track record of 57 out of 57 successful pitches, Will is lending his expertise to Business Unusual to prepare contestants for their auditions with the judges.
Over the course of 13 episodes, the teams will build prototypes, test their markets, crunch the numbers, court partners, measure impact and prove their potential to transform the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the supply chains that feed our industries, the environment, and the institutions that meet our communities’ needs.
A panel of six judges, with deep experience in impact investing, social entrepreneurship, organizational development, business operations and policy making, act as mentors to the teams, coaching them through the competition as well as making the tough decisions about which teams are eliminated along the way.
Kalafa expects the pilot episode to be completed in late spring, at which time she and Crawford will entertain competing proposals from networks and series sponsors.
A-Ray.tv is the first solar-powered video production company in the State of Connecticut, and they are committed to conserving precious resources including energy, time, and funding. Amy Kalafa, Founder, is a life-long environmentalist, holistic health, and social justice advocate. She holds an MBA in Sustainability. Her career as a writer, producer, editor and independent documentary filmmaker spans more than 30 years.
Her award-winning film, “Two Angry Moms,” was seen around the world and ignited a movement for sustainable school food. Amy was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award for her book, “Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health. She is also the creator behind the ground-breaking documentary series, “Inside the Criminal Mind.” Her other television credits include CBS Primetime series “48 Hours”, numerous PBS and Cable TV shows, and several years with “Martha Stewart Living”. Amy has won film festival awards, Telly Awards, the Connecticut Vision Award and has been nominated for Peabody, Emmy, and Cable Ace Awards.
After immigrating to New York from France, A-Ray.tv partner, Alexander Gunuey, spent 17 years as the chief editor for the New York bureau of France 2 where he traveled to nearly every country in the Western Hemisphere. Subsequently, Alex spent five years as a staff editor on the Emmy-winning “Martha Stewart Living” show, followed by six seasons as Chief Editor of the top-rated Discovery series, “Chasing Classic Cars.” He was also Broadcast Producer on the James Beard Award-winning PBS series, “Lidia’s Italy.” Alex now heads post production at A-Ray.
RebelBase is a B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for organizations endeavoring to take a page from the book of the entrepreneur. Whether the goal is to hatch new solutions, engage and retain talent, or build skills through experiential learning, RebelBase makes the process plug-and-play. Our cloud-based innovation lab, proving ground and portal support the widespread growth of corporate innovation challenges, entrepreneurship courses, and social venture competitions. Unlike competitors, RebelBase also goes beyond these niches to turn entrepreneurial problem-solving into an accessible, everyday activity. Subscribers use the platform to equip entrepreneurial problem-solvers, build innovation ecosystems, and measure the results in terms of engagement, innovation, and skills.
As CEO of RebelBase, Alejandro Crawford enables innovators and entrepreneurs to prove their concepts, garner resources, and scale impact and returns. He writes, speaks, and develops frameworks for expanding access to entrepreneurship, to release our potential for sustainable growth. In 2020-2021, his research has expanded to university systems from Bangladesh to Kyrgyzstan, through Bard’s Global Innovation Project supported by the Open Society University Network. He writes and speaks widely on expanding access to innovation, and keynotes events such as Erasmus+’ ISYEC and Europe’s Towards Collaborative Practice. Recent publications include “An Ecosystem Framework for Credentialing Entrepreneurs,” from the Research Triangle Institute, and a chapter in the Federal Reserve’s Investing in America’s Workforce (Upjohn, 2018). Crawford earned his BA in history from Cornell University and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.