Finalists Compete in N.H. Social Venture Innovation Challenge Dec.1

Monday, November 28, 2022

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DURHAM, N.H.—Ten teams were selected from a field of 105 college students from across the state to advance to the final round of the 10th annual New Hampshire Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC). The finalists will compete Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, beginning at 9 a.m. Learn about these teams and their ideas in these videos. The winners will be announced immediately following the 2022 Social Innovator of the Year Award and keynote address. Both events are free and open to the public; registration is required.

A signature program of the University of New Hampshire, the SVIC engages aspiring and practicing student social entrepreneurs in designing novel solutions to some of society’s most pressing sustainability challenges, as defined by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 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. Over the last 10 years, the program has engaged over 500 teams and more than 1,200 individuals as competitors, as well as hundreds more as judges, mentors and sponsors, and has awarded over $200,000 in prize money.

The challenge is a powerful demonstration that college students are not only deeply aware of the complex issues facing their generation, but they are also committed to being the changemakers capable of bringing innovative solutions. The 2022 finalist teams propose to address a range of sustainability issues with ideas including a renewable jet fuel, a smart-ring date rape drug detector, an improved oil spill cleaning method, a supplement to reduce of methane production in cows, smart home technologies to lower residential energy use and emissions, use of oyster mushrooms to a produce a more sustainable transportation fuel, a reinvented car sunshade charger, aquaponics implementation at the state's fish hatcheries, budget-friendly recycled glasses frames, and a more sustainable tire material.

This year the finalists will compete for a total of 10 prizes valued at more than $20,000—the most in the history of the competition—including $17,000 in cash prizes and in-kind prizes totaling $3,500. They will be judged by a panel of social venture and sustainability experts, including notable leaders from New Hampshire and outside the state.

The keynote address will be delivered by the 2022 Social Innovator of the Year, alumnus Alex Freid ‘13, founder of the nonprofit Post-Landfill Action Network. Freid returns to campus 10 years after winning the inaugural SVIC.

Major supporters of the 2022 SVIC include Impax Asset Management, Kennebunk Savings and Timberland; additional supporters include Unitil, Cirtronics, CCA Global, Prime Buchholz, Pete and Gerry’s Eggs, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, The Recycled Planet Company and UNH ECenter Maurice Prize.

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 UNH Sustainability Institute. Additional collaborators include 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 Greg Van Kirk, an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of Social EntrepreneurU, who led an credit-bearing human-centered design course for students entering the SVIC.

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. A Carnegie Classification R1 institution, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and received $260 million in competitive external funding in FY21 to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.