Products Empowering Women Take Top Prizes at Tenth Annual SVPC Showcase
With the success of businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, a number of projects at the Tenth Annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) at Seattle Pacific University focused on the sharing economy. However, several of the winning projects were those which featured products designed specifically for female empowerment or women’s safety. The Showcase event, the finale of the annual SVPC, was held on the SPU campus Thursday, April 14, 2016.
The top project was Afya International chosen as the $3000 Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize winner by the combined votes of more than 70 judges representing the business, non-profit, academic and professional community. P.I.N.G. 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 Donald B. Summers People’s Choice award of $1000 was also given to Afya International.
Many young women in the developing world miss days of school or work due to menstruation. Afya Internationalwould combat this by providing a low-cost reusable menstrual cup, funding the business through sliding scale sales to upper-income, middle income and lower income women. They would begin their sales and distribution in South Africa and then expand to other African countries. The Afya International plan was a collaborative project involving senior Global Development majors Alsea Fishel and Carla Walp, junior Economics and Business double major Josiah Gaede, senior Global Development and History double major Emma Wright and senior Accounting, Business and Global Development triple major Kaitlin Paull.
The P.I.N.G. team developed a personal safety device for college students that syncs to an iPhone. In case of emergencies, the device can be tapped three times to send a GPS location to the Campus Security office. The team believes that the primary beneficiaries of the product will be college-aged women. The P.I.N.G. team was comprised of sophomore Electrical Engineering major Hugo Ramiro, junior Engineering and Computer Science major Shoko Takao, senior Global Development Studies major Kelsey Parker and senior Business majors Reuel Mateo and Max Ako.
In addition to the top two prizes, three honorable mention prizes of $1,000 each were awarded:
People of color and those with disabilities are underrepresented in children’s books. Blue Marble Books would publish children’s books featuring diverse characters and written by diverse authors. Blue Marble Books was the work of junior Business major Sarah Lunstrum, junior Global Development Studies major Emma Naden-Johns, junior Accounting and Business double major Nicole Janes and senior Global Development Studies major Allie Chandler.
Fawkes Developments would market and distribute ceramic tiles made from recycled coal ash. The Fawkes Developments team included Keriann Ashley-Chase, Shaun Ellingson, Christine Hallares, Benjamin Purcell and Andrew Sanko. All are students in SPU’s one-year Master of Arts in Management (Social and Sustainable Management) program.
Safe Case proposed to sell a smart phone case that would have a hidden panel that, when touched by a liquid, would detect the presence or absence of date rape drugs in drinks. Safe Case was written and presented by Luke Postma, Delaney Robinson, Annie Roethe, Paige Shivel and Lindsey Stover, all first-year Business majors.
Update: Read about the 1st place finish of the SafeCase team at the 2016 SVP Seattle Fast Pitch competition held October 25, 2016.
For the third year in a row, SPU partnered with Urban Impact, a faith-based non-profit in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood. Teams presenting projects focused on making a difference in the Rainier Valley were eligible for a separate $500 prize. The winner of this award was Launch BTC.
Launch BTC would equip Rainier Valley’s unemployed and underemployed young adults with professional skills training through classes, internships and consulting. Launch BTC was the work of junior Global Development Studies majors Adrienne Elliott and Ginger York, senior Accounting major David Turner and senior Business major Sandra Zimmerman.
Launch BTC along with the two 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 Emerald City Bible Fellowship, 7728 Rainer Ave S on April 28, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. All three 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 prize.
This is the tenth year of SPU’s Social Venture Plan Competition. 20 teams presented at the Showcase event, comprising approximately 85 students. In addition to the SPU teams, two teams made the trek from Northwest Nazarene University in Boise, Idaho to pitch at the Showcase. In addition to the 70+ 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 150 community volunteers gave time as readers, instructors, coaches and judges.
First time SVPC Judge Mikel Samaniego of Angels for Angels, a local non-profit that helps social enterprises move to scale, said “Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with such inspiring young individuals!”
Long-time SVPC volunteer Mike Martinez of AutoPoint highlighted one of the winning teams, P.I.N.G., saying “I would invest in that project; the young woman who is their CEO is going places!”
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 (CAL) in the School of Business, Government and Economics (SBGE) at SPU.