Thursday, April 23, 2015

5 UCSD Teams Named Finalists of the San Diego Social Innovation Challenge

There are only 16 total teams left in the running for the University of San Diego’s Social Innovation Challenge and the remaining teams have been divided into two tracks: USD and San Diego-wide. Of the eight teams in the San Diego-wide track, five teams hail from UC San Diego. We are proud to share the continued accomplishments of Bystanders to Upstanders, Combatting HIV Transmittance in Mozambique - Africa, Evocado, People’s Potty Project (3P) and VivaScope.
In the final round, the teams are perfecting their 6-minute pitches on their social innovation projects. The teams will present to a live panel of judges next Tuesday, April 28 and the recipients of seed funding prizes will be announced at the awards ceremony held on May 1. At the awards ceremony, all contestants will present a 90-second fast pitch of their project to the San Diego social innovation community.
“The Social Innovation Challenge is looking to fund projects with social impact and a sustainable model,” said Bystanders to Upstanders (B2U) CEO Sneha Jayaprakash.
Jayaprakash founded Bystanders to Upstanders with the mission to make volunteer work more efficient through personifying, localizing and gamifying community service. Since Jayaprakash began her company, B2U has pivoted from a non-profit to a for-profit model focusing on encouraging volunteer work in corporate settings.
Jayaprakash explained that between each round, the Social Innovation Challenge holds Idea labs, each with a different agenda to continue developing their projects and their pitches.
While she mentioned that some lessons have overlapped with tips and training received from the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center and the Rady School of Management’s joint incubator mystartupxx, Jayaprakash also believes that the competition has been helpful in working out the finer points of her team’s business model and crafting a balanced presentation.
“The actual pitch needs to appeal to broad audience, it needs to make sense to the social good side, the business and marketing side…” Jayaprakash explained. “Each sector has different things that they want to see, and crafting a pitch that speaks to each sector is the challenge.”
Kirk Hutchinson of VivaScope recommends the experience and says that the competition is a chance to practice communicating your passion to strangers, a key to any successful humanitarian project. VivaScope is a Global Teams in Engineering Service team partnered with the student organization, Engineering World Health. Their project seeks to expand the availability of viral load testing by reducing costs that prevent millions from receiving the care they need.
“We’re used to explaining the technology and convincing our audience that the science behind our idea will work,” said Hutchinson. “For our six minute pitch, we’ve been told to spend only a minute on our technology and then focus on the social impact and how it will work in the market.”
Receiving award funding is the cherry on top of the learning experience.

“Our goal is to have multiple prototypes working by next quarter and to test them in the field,” said Hutchinson. “We want to send them to Mexico and Mozambique, see how they fare and hopefully distribute them.”

Next Tuesday, the live pitches will be open to the public. To find out more information on how to attend the final round or RSVP for the awards ceremony, click here.

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