and Rainier Valley Dominate Eighth Annual SVPC Showcase
In the Eighth
Annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) at Seattle Pacific
University, over half of the presenting teams had projects that
were either centered on a mobile software application or
addressed needs in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood.
However, when the dust settled, the top few projects were
once again those that showcased innovative tangible products.
The Showcase event, the finale of the annual SVPC, was
held on the SPU campus Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
The top project
was Sound Steps,
chosen as the $3000 Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize winner by the
combined votes of more than 75 judges representing the business,
non-profit, academic and professional community.
Inc. came in second, winning the $2000 Pioneer
Award. Over 300
students, faculty, staff and guests voted for their favorite
project of the afternoon and the Don Summers People’s Choice
award of $500 was given to
mission is to help “amputees
in developing nations ‘step’ out of poverty by providing them
with the highest quality and most affordable lower limb
The prosthetic foot in question is made from used tires,
which can be found in abundance in certain countries, including
Sound Steps’ first
proposed manufacturing site, South Africa.
Thus, the project not only hopes to increase mobility
(and thus opportunity) for amputees, but also to recycle a
product and remove it from the waste stream – two social goods
for the price of one.
was a collaboration between senior Business majors Stephanie
Harold and Matthew Broman, junior Business Major Gabriella
Serventi, senior Mechanical Engineering major Hannah Judd and
senior Engineering major Natalie Harold.
was the runner-up and winner of the
Pioneer Prize presented by Pioneer Human Services.
initial product offering is the Curilight, a combination LED
light and UV water purifier powered by kinetic energy.
plans to market the Curilight to outdoor enthusiasts through
retailers such as REI and Cabela’s.
Hoping to form as a for-benefit corporation (or B-corp),
Kinetic, Inc. plans
to use 75% of net income to donate Curilights to villages in
need in Swaziland, Africa.
The Kinetic, Inc.
team was comprised of Accounting major Darci Curtin and Business
majors Todd Carlson, Andrew Johnson and Elli Winslow, all from
Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.
to the top two prizes, three honorable mention prizes of $1,000
each were awarded as well:
Cerca would sell high-quality hand-woven baby wraps
made by Guatemalan women using traditional Mayan designs.
By creating a path to larger markets for this product,
the company would provide economic opportunity for indigenous
women who are often marginalized today.
Cerca was the
work of junior Business major Claire Fredriks, senior Global
Development Studies major Jeff Abbott, senior Business major
Hayley DeKlotz and senior Sociology and Global Development
double-majors Nathan Nelson and Megan Herndon.
has developed a glove that, when worn by the user,
can translate American Sign Language (ASL) into either text on a
screen or audible words.
The device would open up communication for those who are
deaf, but could also be used as a study tool for those trying to
learn ASL. The
GCA Lotus project was
developed by senior Electrical Engineering major Clarence Rieu,
junior Accounting major Evan Eriksen, senior Applied Human
Biology major Tori Speck, senior Physics Education major Briana
Clarke, junior Interior Design major Alex Russell and freshman
English major Alex Lee.
is a mobile app designed to make it easier
to find philanthropic organizations and opportunities that align
with an individual’s passions and interests.
The team’s desire is to increase giving and volunteering
by making it easier to connect with the right causes.
the work of Vy-Hoa Le, Kaili Hunsaker, Christian Bravo and
Lauren Rogers, all students in SPU’s one year Master of Arts in
Management – Social and Sustainable Management program.
New this year was
a collaboration between SPU and Urban Impact, a faith-based
non-profit in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood.
Teams that presented projects focused on making a
difference in the Rainier Valley were eligible for a separate
$500 prize. The
winner of this award was
Blended Smoothies, a proposal for a
smoothie shop that would complement Urban Impact’s existing
Rainier Health and Fitness business.
was the brain child of sophomore Business and Economics double
major Chris Herron, junior Global Development Studies major
Jessica Miller, junior Business major Sarai Aguirre, senior
Global Development Studies major Rebekah Harper and senior
Business major Becca Harryman.
For many years
Dr. Don Summers provided leadership for the Social Venture Plan
Competition until his unexpected illness and death in 2012.
His widow, Linda Summers, along with several other of
Don’s family members, friends and former students joined
together to create an endowment in Don’s name, supporting the
honor of this new endowment, the People’s Choice award was named
the Don Summers People’s Choice Award.
winner of the Don Summers People’s Choice Award was another
Rainier Valley project,
proposal was for a non-profit employment agency that would
provide skills development and expanded opportunities for people
living on the margins in the Rainier Valley.
was the work of junior Business majors Christian Roy and Jeff
Reintjes, junior Accounting major John Heffel and junior
Business and Accounting double-major Addison Parker.
Blended Smoothies and
along with two other Rainier Valley projects will compete in a
follow-on event, Sharks
at the Beach, on April 23.
This “Shark Tank” style event will be hosted by Urban
Impact at the Emerald City Commons at 7700 Rainier Ave S.
The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and the winner will receive
an additional $1000 prize.
This is the
eighth year of SPU’s Social Venture Plan Competition.
17 teams presented at the Showcase event, comprising
approximately 80 students.
Competitors hailed from SPU, Northwest Nazarene
University, Seattle University and the University of Washington.
In addition to the 75+ community Judges, over 300
students, faculty and staff voted in the People’s Choice
Round was the final leg of the Social Venture Plan Competition.
Earlier stages in the competition included a series of
seminars on the basics of business planning,
scoring of the teams’ written plans
and coaching sessions with knowledgeable businesspeople,
community leaders and other professionals about the student’s
business ideas. In
all, more than 150 community volunteers gave time as readers,
instructors, coaches and judges.
Doug Deardorf, CEO of Denver-based
NiSoft and an SPU alumnus, was a first time Judge at this year’s
Deardorf said “I really enjoyed participating in the event – I
was most impressed by the students, their work and the SVPC
program. Very cool
Chuck Simchuk of Alaska Air Group, a
long-time volunteer for the competition said “I want to
congratulate Sound Steps.
I had the privilege of reviewing their excellent business
plan – they really have a viable idea and I hope they execute
Financial sponsors of the Social
Venture Plan Competition include the Herbert B. Jones
Foundation, the Scott and Kathleen Cummins Family Foundation,
Pioneer Human Services, Fischer Plumbing, Miir, Northwest Center
and Skills, Inc.
The competition is managed by the Center for Applied Learning in
the School of Business and Economics.