Dell, RGK Center to Announce Grand Prize Winner in Social Innovation Competition

Dell and The University of Texas at Austin's RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service will announce the grand prize-winning team in the Dell Social Innovation Competition (DSIC) at an awards ceremony on Monday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center.

Now in its fifth year, the competition gives university students the chance to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true while solving a social or environmental problem.

The winning team will be awarded $50,000 to help turn its winning idea into a working business or nonprofit. A total of $100,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to all five teams.

The ceremony will feature keynote addresses from Sonal Shah, head of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and Manoj Sinha of Husk Power Systems, the 2008 DSIC grand prize-winning team, which has grown its original idea into an organization that has installed 60 mini-power plants running on corn husks that power more than 25,000 households in rural India. More on the final event.

Out of a possible pool of 1,400 entries from 85 countries, five teams have been chosen to travel to Austin to learn if their innovative idea will be chosen to receive funding. The groups hail from universities across the United States, with two teams traveling from India and Kenya. One hundred judges, who include University of Texas Regent James Dannenbaum as well as many Dell officials, have been assembled to choose which finalists will qualify for seed funding for their projects. More on the Dell Social Innovation Competition.

Prior to the event at 5:45 p.m., William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, and Karen Quintos, chief marketing officer for Dell, will make an important announcement about the financial future of the competition and student social entrepreneurship. The announcement, followed by the awards ceremony, will take place at the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public. Complimentary food and drinks will be provided and attendees will be eligible to win Dell prizes.

More on the Finalists:

  • Project Yele Carnegie Mellon University
    The mission of Project Yele is to use renewable energy to bring prosperity and wealth to rural Sierra Leone by creating a community bazaar where local entrepreneurs can start businesses using clean drinking water, electricity and refrigeration.
  • Malo Traders Temple University
    This group plans to address issues of malnutrition and post-harvest losses in Mali by producing and marketing rice fortified with micronutrients in a commercially viable way, while also saving consumers money and increasing income for farmers.
  • SIFE CBS - Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, India
    This project aims to empower women in slums in India by helping them to create microenterprises by selling sanitary napkins to women.
  • Sanergy - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Sanergy increases access to safe, affordable sanitation in urban slums by building a network of low-cost sanitation centers in every block of the slums of Nairobi, Kenya in an innovative, for-profit model that battles the challenges of sanitation, energy and food production while generating local employment and improving living conditions.
  • TakaTaka Solutions - London School of Economics, Kenya
    TakaTake Solutions is a social enterprise group that aims to bring about social and environmental change through a commercially viable business approach to collecting and recycling waste in urban centers in Kenya.