7 Mission-driven UChicago Teams to Compete for $150,000 at 2024 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge Finals

The following story was originally published by the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. 

Seven mission-driven teams with innovative ideas, including leveraging AI to aid career development, efficient waste management in Indonesia, and a curriculum for social media literacy, will advance to the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC) Finals on Tuesday, May 21. The teams were selected from 18 Phase II ventures.

>> Register here to attend the 2024 SNVC Finals on May 21

Student finalists will compete for at least $150,000 in startup capital during the 14th annual Edwardson SNVC, which is the social impact track of the University of Chicago’s nationally ranked accelerator program, the New Venture Challenge. Hosted by the Rustandy Center and the Polsky Center, the SNVC has jump-started more than 200 game-changing, mission-driven ventures which have raised more than $168 million.

The 2024 SNVC finalists are:

  • Blueline creates the throughline between campaigns, retaining Democrats’ best talent in the off-year, by matching staff with participating employers for a short-term contract. It ensures that staffers maintain meaningful employment between election cycles.
  • Iziko Ryacu is a social enterprise that produces and distributes energy efficient clay-based cooking briquettes for rural Rwandan households. It aims to educate people on the benefits of clean cooking and climate action while creating jobs and other income opportunities for local residents.
  • KindEd is a nonprofit that aims to equip and empower young people to become agents of change by providing a social media literacy curriculum for schools and advocating for policy changes across Illinois school districts. The curriculum seamlessly integrates literacy and social-emotional learning standards.
  • Nosso is a subscription service that gives people the option to borrow products that are used infrequently (folding chairs, tools, board games, select kitchen appliances) and thus not worth buying. Nosso’s goal is to reduce the number of things people living in urban areas buy.
  • Ohr empowers all professionals through proactive, empathetic, AI-driven support, helping employees and employers connect across expectations for today, ambitions for tomorrow, and the challenges in between. Ohr provides equal opportunity to everyone starting their career journey and ultimately increases the diversity of senior leadership teams at the world’s biggest companies, all through the power of behavioral science.
  • Sirkularis combines efficient waste management solutions tailored for middle-to-low-income communities in Indonesia with cutting-edge SaaS tools for circular economy businesses. It empowers households and local businesses to responsibly manage waste while aiding businesses in optimizing resource usage, fostering a greener and more sustainable future for all.
  • The Dev Difference provides a simulated mock interview environment, allowing candidates to practice interview scenarios, receive immediate feedback, and enhance communication skills. This user-friendly platform is tailored for students and career transitioners, offering valuable resources to first-time interviewees who may not have an established network for technical interviews.

Register to attend the 2024 Edwardson SNVC finals in person at the Harper Center or tune in online.

This event is open to all members of the UChicago community and the general public.

The SNVC is the cornerstone of the Rustandy Center’s Edwardson Social Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Chicago, an initiative named in recognition of a 2016 gift by John Edwardson, ’72, retired chairman and CEO of CDW and co-chair of Advance Illinois.


Read the original story here.


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