2015 SVPC Recap

3D Printing and Pet Businesses Top Trends at Ninth Annual SVPC Showcase

In the Ninth Annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) at Seattle Pacific University, many business ideas incorporated the use of 3D printing and a number focused on pets. The winning projects represent a wider array of ideas than those broad trends might suggest. The Showcase event, the finale of the annual SVPC, was held on the SPU campus Wednesday, April 16, 2015.

The top project was Brio Pack, chosen as the $3000 Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize winner by the combined votes of more than 50 judges representing the business, non-profit, academic and professional community. TK Threads came in second, winning the $2000 runner-up award. Over 400 students, faculty, staff and guests voted for their favorite project of the afternoon and the Don Summers People’s Choice award of $1000 was also given to TK Threads.

Brio Pack

Brio Pack is a portable refrigeration unit that will make safe vaccine delivery possible anywhere in the world. Many vaccines destined for the developing world spoil because of gaps in the “cold chain” that keeps vaccines at correct temperatures. The Brio Pack is a portable refrigeration unit that is lighter in weight than current cooling solutions and has multiple charging options, including a hand crank. Brio Pack would be sold to NGO’s working in the global health space. The Brio Pack plan was a collaborative project between junior Business Administration major Alyssa Arneson, senior Appropriate and Sustainable Engineering major Alex Abate, senior Electrical Engineering major Jonathan Nyhuis, junior Business Administration major Myra Franzone and junior Business Administration, Economics, and Global Development Studies major Garrett Mullett.

TK Threads

TK Threads was the runner-up team and the People’s Choice Award winner. The project proposes a cottage industry in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood that would partner with several local non-profits to recruit and employ marginalized women. The clients would include those who have escaped the sex trade and political refugees. The garments sewn in home would then be collected and sold to major retailers. The TK Threads team was comprised of junior Global Development Studies and Linguistics major Summer Downs, senior Business Administration major Austin Harris, junior Economics major Danny Parr, junior Global Development Studies major Elisa Raney, junior Global Development Studies and Psychology major Carl Sallee and sophomore Global Development Studies major Scott Sweeney.

In addition to the top two prizes, three honorable mention prizes of $1,000 each were awarded:


Bis would take hard bound books that are currently impossible to recycle (due to glue in the spines) and turn them into decorative items such as planters and lamps. The group would employ people with development disabilities to create the products. Bis was the work of senior Political Science major Kalany Crumley, senior Global Development Studies major Samuel Dahlin, senior Business Administration major Erica Graham, junior Accounting major Mike Mouhanna and junior Business Administration major Kelsey Reimers.

La Samaritaine

La Samaritaine proposes an artisan bakery in the Skid Row neighborhood of Los Angeles. Partnering with a local non-profit, the business would employ homeless individuals in the crafting of baked goods, getting them off the streets at night. The La Samaritaine project was developed by senior Business Administration major Sarai Aguirre, junior Business Administration major Erin Creighton, senior Global Development Studies major Kate Morgan and junior Communications major Taryn Vis.

Rain City Hound

Rain City Hound was the one and only pet business to land in the money. Rain City Hound would offer a doggy day care business aimed at tech workers in downtown Seattle. The business would employ street-involved youth who need to obtain job and life skills to get them headed in the right direction. Rain City Hound was the work of Dagim Haile-Leul, Pat Hamer, Camille Lampert and Britney Thompson, all students in SPU’s one year intensive Master of Arts in Management (Social and Sustainable Management) program. 

TK Threads

For the second year in a row, SPU partnered with 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 TK Threads.

TK Threads along with the three other teams competing on the Rainier Valley “track” will also participate in a follow-on event entitled Sharks at the Beach. This “Shark Tank” style event will be hosted by Urban Impact at Rainier Avenue Church, 5900 Rainer Ave South on April 23, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. All four teams will pitch their ideas in front of a panel of community experts and a live audience. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and runs until approximately 9:00 p.m. The winner will receive an additional $1000 prize.

This is the ninth year of SPU’s Social Venture Plan Competition. Nineteen teams presented at the Showcase event, comprising approximately 70 students. In addition to the SPU teams, one team made the trek from Northwest Nazarene University in Boise, Idaho to pitch at the Showcase. In addition to the 50+ community Judges, over 400 students, faculty and staff voted in the People’s Choice balloting.

The Showcase 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 130 community volunteers gave time as readers, instructors, coaches and judges.

Sandeep Arora, a Managing Director at Accenture and a first-time SVPC Judge commented “[I] enjoyed being there. The confidence, energy and maturity of the students were just wonderful.”

Cedric Davis of Casey Family Programs, an SPU alumnus and a long-time volunteer for the competition, said “I knew that TK Threads would be a big winner as their plan was comprehensive and very polished.”

Center for Applied Learning Director, Mark Oppenlander, SBGE Dean, Dr. Joseph Williams, Brio Pack, the Grand Prize winning team, and sponsors Kathleen and Scott Cummins.

Pictured above are Center for Applied Learning Director, Mark Oppenlander, SBGE Dean, Dr. Joseph Williams, Brio Pack, the Grand Prize winning team, and sponsors Kathleen and Scott Cummins.  

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, Skills, Inc. and the Keiretsu Forum. The competition is managed by the Center for Applied Learning (CAL) in the School of Business, Government and Economics (SBGE) at SPU.