Meet the 2013 Dell Social Innovation Challenge Finalists

 Dell Powering the Possible

This year’s projects range from something as complex as a biomedical technology that more easily diagnoses if a cancer has metastasized, to something as simple as a shoe cut from a discarded rubber tire.

Coming from Germany, Mexico, Bangladesh, India and the United States, the 2013 Dell Social Innovation Challenge finalists represent a diverse group of students working to address the world’s most pressing social issues. One project would make agriculture more sustainable for rural Indians, while another would increase charitable giving in the workplace, and still another would create a platform to crowd-source urban solar installations.

Through Dell’s work with the challenge, we seek to assist promising university entrepreneurs as they put forward plans to solve pressing social problems with transformative ideas. The 2013 challenge will award more than $350,000 in prizes to help bring their ideas to life. More than 2,600 ideas were submitted and narrowed to 260 semi-finalist teams, who were all paired with a certified Dell mentor. The following are the five finalist projects.

  • Citizen Power / Sunriding seeks to build a peer-to-peer online social platform for community-sourced solar installations, especially in high-density urban areas. The website will help plan, finance, build & maintain installations.

  • Foot Soldiers sells 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.

  • creates 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.

  • Semka Biomedical Technologies is developing a device capable of performing non-invasive tumor biopsies through blood extraction, specifically targeting metastatic cells that give rise to new tumors in the body and increase chances of death.

  • Solar Conduction Dryer (SCD) aims to address the 20-30 percent food spoilage rate for poor rural Indian farmers, via cost-effective dehydrators powered by solar conduction. Farmers will keep more of their crop and can sell dehydrated fruits and vegetables as another income source.

Next month, these groups will travel to Austin to pitch their plans in front of our judge’s panel, and we’ll announce the grand prize winner at a spectacular event May 14. Please follow along at

About the Author: Michele Glaze