UNH Announces Winners of Statewide Social Venture Innovation Challenge


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Honey-Do Team

The winner of the student track, Honey-Do, Andrew DeMeo, UNH senior majoring in environmental conservation and sustainability (middle); final round judge Colleen Vien, sustainability director, Timberland; and Brendan Markey, senior retail manager, Kennebunk Savings. Photo Credit: Perry Smith Photography

DURHAM, N.H. – A student who proposed a cooperative full-service beekeeping business won the student track of the fifth annual New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge at the University of New Hampshire. A team that proposed a redesigned reclining manual wheelchair won in the community track.

Designed to be an “innovation accelerator,” participants develop original proposals for sustainable, market-based solutions to some of society’s most pressing social and environmental challenges. 

The final round of the challenge was judged by a group of prominent social venture founders, leaders and investors from New Hampshire and beyond. There was a track for community members and another for students in any college or university in the state. Eight teams in the community track and eight teams in the student track were selected to compete in the finals. Prizes totaling more than $65,000 in value were awarded to help first, second and third placed teams in each track to advance their ideas. A high school track was again piloted this year in November, which presented to a special panel of judges. 

“We were thrilled that 299 individuals representing 96 teams of college students and community members were inspired to design entrepreneurial concepts to tackle major local and global challenges this year,” said Fiona Wilson, executive director of the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise at UNH. “Their innovative ideas spanned special needs education and educational outcomes, water quality, methane recovery, food waste, beekeeping, healthcare for underserved populations, and reproductive health for college students. We know that effective solutions to society’s most insidious problems will increasingly need to come from collaboration -- across private and public sectors and across fields and disciplines – and this challenge not only encourages that type of innovation, but shows what it can accomplish.”

The winner of the student track, Honey-Do, proposed an idea to provide a cooperative full-service beekeeping business. Customers would pay a one–time fee to have a beehive installed and maintained on their property. Andrew DeMeo is a senior environmental conservation and sustainability major at UNH. He received a cash prize of $5,000, a social entrepreneur membership and complimentary registration to the annual New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) conference provided by NHBSR (valued at $325) and a start-up/entrepreneur membership provided by the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council (valued at $250).

The second and third-place student winners were Geno Miller of team Schtudy, a UNH senior business administration entrepreneurial studies major with a minor in psychology, looking to deliver proven educational solutions to prepare students for success through mentoring and an adaptive e-learning STEM prep platform; and Julianna Good of team Crescendo Inclusive Curriculums, a music education major looking to promote a non-profit teacher education program and education resources to integrate more students with special needs into fine arts classrooms. They received prizes of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively, social entrepreneur memberships and complimentary registrations to the annual NHSBR conference and start-up/entrepreneur memberships provided by the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council.  

The winner of the community track was IdeaShare, with a redesigned reclining manual wheelchair, led by Sharon Parker from Dover and Glenn Shwaery ’94 from North Hampton. The team will receive a cash prize of $10,000, as well as 100 hours of consulting donated by PixelMEDIA, a New Hampshire-based digital experience agency (valued at $17,500), $4,500 worth of legal services from Pierce Atwood, a New England law firm; 12 months of flex membership for co-working space in Portsmouth provided by Alpha Loft, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the development of early-stage businesses (valued at $2,100); partner level membership provided by New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (includes one complimentary registration to the annual NHBSR conference and other benefits) (valued at $500); a case of premium Astrolite Smooth 80 lb. text paper 8.5x11 for letterhead and 1000 blank #10 business envelopes (valued at $500); a start-up/entrepreneur membership provided by the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council and a one-year subscription to New Hampshire Business Review (valued at $96).

The second-place winner in the community track was HealthyKart Community Inc., a nutritional dietary analysis software platform created to abate the obesity epidemic, led by Kevin Cahill of Weare, Matthew Lehmann of Rochester, Kevin Martin of Hopkinton, and Sarah Trautman of Boston. The team received $4,500 worth of legal services from Pierce Atwood; 12 months of flex membership for co-working space provided by Alpha Loft; partner level membership provided by New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility; a start-up/entrepreneur membership provided by the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council and a one-year subscription to New Hampshire Business Review.

The third-place winner in the community track was IRIS, a mobile app that empowers students with learning disabilities to communicate their academic needs and feelings to their support network, led by Justin Troiano, a master’s student in political science at UNH and Emilia Giordano from Eliot, Maine. The team received $4,500 worth of legal services from Pierce Atwood; six months of flex membership for co-working space provided by Alpha Loft; partner level membership provided by New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility; a start-up/entrepreneur membership provided by the New Hampshire Clean Tech Council and a one-year subscription to New Hampshire Business Review.

Major supporters of the challenge include Kennebunk Savings, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Pierce Atwood and Timberland. Other supporters include PixelMEDIA, Alpha Loft, CCA Global Partners, Normandeau Associates, and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The challenge is organized and hosted at UNH by the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise (a joint venture of the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics and the Carsey School of Public Policy), the Sustainability Institute, UNHInnovation and Net Impact UNH.

To learn more about the winning teams, go to https://www.unh.edu/social-innovation/svic/2017

The University of New Hampshire is a flagship research university that inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top ranked programs in business, engineering, law, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. UNH’s research portfolio includes partnerships with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, receiving more than $100 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space. 

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Images to be downloaded:

IdeaShare 2017 CT 1st Place.jpg
https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/sites/default/files/media/ideashare_2017_ct_1st_place.jpg
Caption: The winning community team, IdeaShare, led by Sharon Parker (middle) from Dover and Glenn Shwaery ’94 (right) from North Hampton. Also pictured is final round judge Mary Joanna Brown (left), founder & president of Brown & Company Design and a member of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation board of directors. Photo Credit: Perry Smith Photography

Honey-Do 2017 ST 1st Place.jpg
https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/sites/default/files/media/honey_do_2017_st_1st_place1.jpg
Caption: The winner of the student track, Honey-Do, Andrew DeMeo, UNH senior majoring in environmental conservation and sustainability (middle); final round judge Colleen Vien, sustainability director, Timberland; and Brendan Markey, senior retail manager, Kennebunk Savings. Photo Credit: Perry Smith Photography