2017 SVPC Recap

Diapers and Skin Cream Claim Top Prizes at Eleventh Annual SVPC Showcase

Things we use every day can make a big difference. So said the aspiring entrepreneurs competing in the Eleventh Annual Social Venture Plan Competition (SVPC) at Seattle Pacific University. Several of the winning projects used household products – or byproducts – in new and imaginative ways. The Showcase event, the finale of the annual SVPC, was held on the SPU campus Thursday, April 20, 2017.

MycoVate Solutions

The top project was MycoVate Solutions chosen as the $5000 Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize winner by the combined votes of more than 75 judges representing the business, non-profit, academic and professional community. Selam came in second, winning the $3000 runner-up award. Over 350 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 Selam.

In the United States, disposable diapers are the third largest solid waste product, creating over 3.5 million tons of unrecycled waste and 3.25 million tons of greenhouse gases every year. MycoVate Solutions would collect and sanitize disposable diapers, converting them to substrate to produce mushrooms and high-quality compost. The mushrooms would then be ground into a powdered protein source for pet food. The MycoVate Solutions team included Tasia Baldwin, Rebecca Ewing, Remy Hudson and Tamarah Lee. All are students in SPU’s one-year Master of Arts in Management with an emphasis in Social and Sustainable Management (MAM-SSM) program.


Over 600 million people worldwide are affected by malaria. The Selam team has developed a skin lotion that serves as a natural mosquito repellant for up to six hours. The product would be manufactured and sold in Hawassa, Ethiopia, a region with a high incidence of malaria. The Selam team was comprised of seniors Rahel Gaguro, Abigail Jensen, Tsion McNichols and Tara Rasing and juniors Deanna Hines and Madison Dierickx. All six are Global Development Studies majors.

Three Honorable Mention prizes of $2000 were also awarded:

Change Incorporated

Change Incorporated would launch a mobile phone app that would allow donors to quickly and repeatedly give small amounts to charities of their choice; these gifts would then be delivered at regular intervals as lump sum donations. Change Incorporated was the work of senior Accounting major Jannessa Dyk, senior Marketing and Graphic Design major Cali Carpenter and senior Business majors Jordan Hepton, Bonna Ndiaye and Mike Zucker, all from Northwest Nazarene University.

Ground Up

GroundUp would collect used coffee grounds from local cafes and convert it into a soil amendment for purchase by local organic farms. The GroundUp team included Kathleen Briggs, David Corby, Johanna Sanchez and Fallon Schneider. All four are students in the one-year MAM-SSM graduate program. 

Savor and Sip

Savour & Sip would develop a mobile phone app that would empower and inform socially and environmentally conscious consumers to choose local restaurants and support healthy neighborhoods. Savour & Sip was written and presented by junior Global Development major Ashley Barnett, senior Global Development majors Serena Kaveney and Jessinia Ruff, junior Business Administration major Allison Pincus, sophomore Business Administration major Crystal Sierra and senior Computer Science major Matt Hall.

Level Up

For the fourth 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 Level Up Academy.

Level Up Academy would offer technology education to youth in the Rainier Valley through coding classes offered on a mobile bus that could be converted to a gaming arcade for event rentals. Level Up Academy was developed by senior Global Development Studies majors Trisha White (pictured) and Ginger York and sophomore Political Science major Michael Hamilton.

Level Up Academy will also participate in a follow-on event entitled Sharks at the Beach. This “Shark Tank”-style evening will be hosted by Urban Impact at Emerald City Bible Fellowship, 7728 Rainer Ave S on April 27, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. In addition to the SPU project, several Rainier Valley-based entrepreneurs 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. with separate prizes to be awarded.

This is the eleventh year of SPU’s Social Venture Plan Competition. 25 teams presented at the Showcase event, comprising approximately 90 students. In addition to the SPU projects, two teams from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho made the trip to Seattle to pitch at the Showcase. And in addition to the 75+ community judges, over 500 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 business plans and coaching sessions with knowledgeable businesspeople, community leaders and other professionals about the students’ venture proposals. In all, more than 150 community volunteers gave time as readers, instructors, coaches and judges.

First time Judge Joan O’Brien, of Pavot Bleu, LLC, a media consulting and production firm noted: “The students were so enthusiastic and well prepared. The hardest part of the day was selecting just a few [teams] to distribute my award points to and I know I wasn't alone. It's lovely to know that SPU is turning out a group of seniors who have spent the last few months of their undergraduate work concentrating on creative ways to help their communities and the world. It would truly be a kinder, better world if more people spent more time following the example of your students.”

Megan Karch, CEO of local social enterprise FareStart also served as a judge. “I was impressed and inspired!” she said.

SVPC montage

Financial sponsors of the SVPC include the Herbert B. Jones Foundation, the Scott and Kathleen Cummins Family Foundation, Pioneer Human Services, Fischer Plumbing, MiiR, Bellmont Cabinets 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.