16 Teams Advance in the 2021 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge

This week, 16 teams advanced to the next round of the 2021 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC).

With the announcement, teams move on to Phase II of the startup competition, which allows University of Chicago students to work throughout the Spring Quarter to launch a nonprofit or for-profit enterprise with a social mission at its core.

Finalists will compete for at least $150,000 in cash prizes at the SNVC Finals on Tuesday, June 1.

Operated by Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation and UChicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the SNVC is the social impact track of the university’s nationally ranked business launch program, the New Venture Challenge.

This year marks the 11th annual SNVC, which has helped to jump-start more than 100 startups that have gone on to raise more than $35 million. Past winners include solar-powered light company LuminAID, online voter guide BallotReady, autism therapy startup AIM Clinics, and B2B e-commerce platform for Africa’s informal retailers, Sokowatch.


Afrika Startup Lab is an organization whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs solving Africa’s biggest challenges by bridging the information, resource and finance gap. ASL currently offers 100% FREE mentorship to entrepreneurs and aims to become a center for entrepreneurial and venture enablement across Africa. (Booth)

Axo Foods is a marketplace that empowers regenerative farmers by connecting them to climate-conscious brands and buyers. (Booth)

BellPost is a government technology SaaS platform that helps congressional staff and legislators cut through political noise to make quicker and more informed decisions on behalf of their constituents. (Master of Arts Program in the Humanities)

Block Party Capital is an online crowdfunding portal that strives to connect small businesses to individual investors and investment groups. (Booth; Harris)

Chicago Textile Cooperative is an advanced textile manufacturing cooperative that is locally owned, controlled, and dedicated to building a sustainable, 21st century economy for the South Side of Chicago. (Booth; Harris)

MD Newsline / MDOnc App is a health technology company focused on digital solutions that provide cultural insights, health disparity research, and cultural competency content to doctors. (Booth)

Mighty Homes provides tiny homes, job training, and employment to individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated Illinois residents. (Harris)

MNG HUB is a virtual community center that offers resources to first-generation immigrants and minority students and professionals who are seeking opportunities for networking, goal tracking, mentorships, and more. (Booth)

Nelu Consulting Solutions LLC partners with organizations to build equity and inclusion into employee benefits programs, improving outcomes for employees and their family members. (Booth)

SAEF Legal Aid is a justice technology nonprofit that has developed tools and services to provide free and affordable legal assistance to low-income families. (Booth; The College)

Social Profit is a SaaS platform that empowers nonprofits and private companies to collaborate on corporate social responsibility projects by amplifying the work of nonprofits, streamlining impact measurement, and facilitating cost-effective project execution. (Booth)

Southside Market is a mini fresh market and canteen with a mission to bring healthy food options and business ownership opportunities to marginalized communities on the South Side of Chicago. (Booth; Harris)

SpotCheck Sensing leverages an ecosystem of sensors to monitor hospital rooms and indicate when and where to clean, leading to fewer infections and superbugs, reduced liability, and a more efficient hospital staff. (Booth)

Stack Impact is a data analytics firm focused on consumer insights that aims to increase employment among refugees by providing relevant skills training and job opportunities. (Booth)

The 200 Project works to provide workforce housing in disinvested neighborhoods by removing barriers to homeownership—from providing upfront capital for renovations to building awareness around the home-buying process. (Booth)

To get the latest on news and events planned around this year’s John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), sign up here.

To join us for the virtual 2021 SNVC Finals on Tuesday, June 1, register here.

*This article was originally posted by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation.

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyze your use of products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts.