USD Focuses on Social Innovation at the Center for Peace and Commerce

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The University of San Diego is dedicated to social change. That mission is nowhere more evident than during the Social Innovation Challenge (SIC). In its sixth year, the SIC is a social entrepreneurial opportunity mainstay hosted by USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce. The Challenge received 101 project applications, this year; all focused on bringing social innovation to the world.

15 finalists competed for more than $50,000 in prize money and a variety of in-kind service bonuses. The USD projects Iron Heart Canines for Heroes, Soulr, and Foothold Foundation all took home $10,000 each.

Coletta O’Donnell Boone, a master’s student in nonprofit management and leadership, designed Iron Heart Canines for Heroes. The goal of the project is to provide service canines to local military veterans to help with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

Soulr is a solar-powered mobile food cart that enables student charity-focused organizations to sell healthy food products. An undergraduate business student, Tyler Norris, founded the project.

Foothold Foundation is a nonprofit that creates strategic collaboration and resource sharing for social change. MBA student, Jessica Kort, led the project. A few days after the SIC, Kort presented another project, a bra washing machine, to angel investors in the V2 Pitch Competition. She’s the first USD female entrepreneur to reach finals in both the SIC and V2 competitions, winning a total of $18,000 for her ventures.

“It’s exhilarating,” Kort exclaimed in a university press release. “I don’t know that I’ve been in a place where I’ve been recognized for a lot of work accomplished. It’s a huge honor.”

USD’s Center for Peace and Commerce (CPC) is vital to the School’s overall mission. It listens to students and their passions and brings ideas for social innovation to the forefront. Grace Michel, the associate director of the CPC, told the SIC finalists, “You all inspire me to want to come to work each day.”


About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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