Solar Conduction Dryer Wins Grand Prize in 2013 Dell Social Innovation Challenge
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- Student team from India addresses the 20 to 30 percent food spoilage rate for poor rural farmers, via cost-effective dehydrators powered by solar conduction
- Finalist projects range from new cancer diagnostic tool and nonprofit fundraising platform to solar power crowdsourcing and recycled shoes
- Entrepreneurial students and their innovative ventures celebrated at finals event
|Dell announced today that Solar Conduction Dryer received the $60,000 grand prize in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC) to help fuel their innovation. Solar Conduction Dryer and young social innovators from four other finalist teams convened in Austin this week to compete for the cash prize as part of the DSIC, which recognizes undergraduate and graduate students from around the world who envision, create and implement social innovation projects that help communities around the world.|
Solar Conduction Dryer aims to address the 20 to 30 percent food spoilage rate for poor rural Indian farmers, via cost-effective dehydrators powered by solar conduction. The innovation will enable farmers to keep more of their crops and sell dehydrated fruits and vegetables as another income source.
“Our solar conduction dryer will act as a boon for the farmers and fishermen with poor access to electricity,” said Shital Somani with Solar Conduction Dryer. “The platform provided by DSIC will help us in scaling up our technology to reach the farmers and thus provide them with a revolutionary sustainable technology, to cope up with the agrarian crisis and prosper.”
The other four 2013 finalists included:
- Foot Soldiers: In second place, Foot Soldiers received $40,000 to sell affordable shoes for the 48 million Bangladeshi who cannot afford proper footwear and are thus at risk for various diseases associated with bare feet. The project will use rubber tires that are currently thrown away or burnt as Bangladesh’s car population rises.
- Good-Benefits.com: In third place, Good-Benefits.com received $20,000 to create a “401k for charity” by helping people make payroll contributions to tax-exempt micro-foundation accounts from which they can give funds over time to nonprofits. The project will help companies run simple, engaging workplace giving campaigns.
- The final two finalists, Semka Biomedical Technologies and Citizen Power / Sunriding, received $10,000 each to launch their ideas. Semka, from Mexico, is developing a device capable of performing non-invasive tumor biopsies through blood extraction. Citizen Power, a German team, is building a peer-to-peer online social platform for crowdsourcing urban solar installations.
The five finalists participated this week in networking, mentoring opportunities with social innovation leaders and the final pitches to vie for the grand prize. They presented their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of judges comprising business leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and the winner was selected following the pitches.
The DSIC identifies and supports promising young social innovators who dedicate themselves to solving some of the world’s most pressing problems with their transformative ideas. Introduced in 2007 by the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, the Challenge provides students with world-class teaching and training, as well as start-up capital and access to a network of mentors and advisers. Entries are judged on three primary criteria: clarity of the innovation and significance of social impacts potentials; demonstration of a high probability of success; and potential impact from winning DSIC. In 2013, more than 2,600 projects from teams presented ideas that addressed issues impacting more than 110 countries.
“Two of the most powerful forces in the world are innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Suzi Sosa, DSIC executive director and associate director, RGK Center. “The Dell Social Innovation Challenge empowers students to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Through our competition, university students from any country are inspired to tackle the issues they are most passionate about and are equipped with the tools and training to bring their ideas to life. This year we will provide mentorship or seed funding to more than 250 teams whose projects span multiple issues, including health, energy, poverty, education and much more. Through our program students are able to create the jobs they want while building the world they want at the same time.”
Dell’s support for the DSIC includes tools and technology, experience and expertise, and funding. The company became the competition’s title sponsor in 2008; at the close of the 2011 Challenge, Dell announced a $5 million grant, distributed over five years, to expand the Challenge’s efforts worldwide and support its goal of engaging more students per year. This year, more than 1,200 Dell employees volunteered to participate in the DSIC as both judges and mentors.
“Dell was founded in a dorm room, and the spirit of entrepreneurship runs deep in our company’s DNA,” said Trisa Thompson, Dell’s vice president of corporate responsibility. “We know that students can change the world, and we’re excited to support them with technology, mentorship, networking and funding that can bring their ideas to life.”
About Dell Social Innovation Challenge
The Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC), identifies and supports promising young social innovators who dedicate themselves to solving the world’s most pressing problems with their transformative ideas. DSIC, which is the flagship social entrepreneurship initiative of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, provides university students with world-class teaching and training, as well as with start-up capital and access to a network of mentors and advisors. For more information, visit www.dellchallenge.org.
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. Powering the Possible is Dell’s commitment to putting its technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. Learn more at www.dell.com/poweringthepossible.