N.H. Social Venture Innovation Challenge Finalists Compete Nov. 30

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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DURHAM, N.H.—Nine teams were selected from a field of 60 teams comprised of 121 college students from across the state to advance to the final round of the 2020 New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC). The finalists will compete virtually for $15,000 in cash prizes Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Learn about these teams and their ideas in these videos. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

An annual signature program of the University of New Hampshire, the SVIC engages aspiring and practicing student social entrepreneurs in designing novel, sustainable, business-orientated solutions to some of society’s most pressing sustainability challenges covering social, economic and environmental issues. The SVIC is an idea-stage competition with the goal of inspiring innovative, solution-orientated thinking and providing a forum to shine a light on these ideas.

Submissions to the challenge are up 50% over 2019, a clear indication that college students are not only deeply aware of the issues facing their generation but committed to finding innovative solutions. The teams propose ideas that span issues such as water quality and nutrient cycling, reducing methane, tech and sustainability, alternative plant-based foods, meeting basic needs of college students, helping firefighters, recycling and soil fertility.

Major supporters of the SVIC include Timberland, Kennebunk Savings Bank, Prime Buchholz, Cirtronics, Cole Haan and CCA Global Partners; additional supporters include NH Businesses for Social Responsibility, the Maurice Prize for Innovation, Brent Bell and Wojtek Uzdelewicz.

The program is a collaborative, interdisciplinary event organized by the UNH Changemaker Collaborative and co-hosted by the Carsey School of Public Policy, the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics and the Sustainability Institute. Additional collaborators include a record number of UNH faculty who embedded the SVIC into their fall courses; Ian Grant, executive director of UNH’s ECenter, who served as advisor to many teams who advanced to the final round; and Drew Bonfiglio, co-founder of Emzingo, who led an intensive credit-bearing human-centered design course for students entering the SVIC.

The winners of the SVIC will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 1, beginning at 12:30 p.m., immediately following the 2020 Social Innovator of the Year Award and keynote.

The University of New Hampshire 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, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.