MINNEAPOLIS, June 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Student social innovators with inspiring ideas ranging from ecological bricks made from plastic waste to programs that create meaningful, one-on-one connections between youth and older adults competed virtually June 12 to win a share of more than $60,000 in seed funding at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (Fowler GSIC) Finals.
This is the first time that the University of St. Thomas has hosted the event, a joint venture with the University of San Diego (USD) designed to increase the scope and scale of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem at their respective universities and beyond. The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas and the Center for Peace and Commerce at USD alternate hosting the Global Finals each year.
"The Fowler GSIC is for the trailblazers, the doers and the dreamers. Never has this mindset been more relevant than in these current times," said Laura Dunham, associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. "This competition is important to expanding the social innovation movement."
Each team in the multi-round competition leading up to the Global Finals engaged with one or more of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, ranging from ending hunger by promoting sustainable agriculture to achieving gender equality, building resilient infrastructure, combating climate change, and providing access to justice for all. Students from 15 countries and 28 universities competed in the Global Finals.
The winners included:
- Changemaker Award winner ($22,000) – Seedloans, University of Oxford
- Changemaker Award second place ($10,000) – Big & Mini, University of Texas at Austin
- Changemaker Award third place ($5,000) – Hempress Hygienics, San Diego State University
- Women Innovators Award ($1,000) – Govuka, Duke University
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award ($1,000) – Meraki, CETYS Universidad – Tijuana
- Audience Choice Award ($1,000) – HBN, University of San Diego
- Additional prizes of nearly $20,000 were given away to runner-up teams in the Changemaker and preliminary pitch round as well as special prizes.
Stefanie Lenway, dean of the Opus College of Business, is grateful to Ron and Alexis Fowler for making this global social entrepreneurship competition possible. The competition was established in 2011 by the University of San Diego as the Social Innovation Challenge. To date, more than $500,000 in seed funding has been awarded to the winning teams. Since 2011, 2,500 social entrepreneurs have had the opportunity to get feedback on their ventures from leaders in both the private and nonprofit sectors. In 2019, with the generous support of Ron and Alexis Fowler, the challenge was renamed the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge and a collaboration between the University of San Diego and St. Thomas was launched.
"The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and the Opus College of Business is honored to partner with the Center for Peace and Commerce at the University of San Diego, a strong ally in higher education social entrepreneurship programming," Lenway said. "In addition to highlighting solutions to societal challenges, the Fowler GSIC widens the circle of impact for both universities by helping social entrepreneurs from around the world sharpen their business plans, thereby increasing their chances of success and contributing to the common good."
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SOURCE Schulze School of Entrepreneurship