Congratulations to the winners of the 10th annual YouthBridge Social Enterprise and Innovation Competition (SEIC) . Ten finalists competed for funding awards totaling over $100,000. All of this year’s winners serve children and youth, and many were in the area of education. The competition is hosted by the Skandalaris Center in partnership with the YouthBridge Community Foundation, with support from sponsors the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis and the Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis.
And the winners are:
- $30,000 YouthBridge Award to The MakerShare Initiative of The Disruption Department, which provides access to Maker and STEM technology to students in schools without the resources to do so
- $25,000 Lutheran Foundation Award to Virtual Child Care Business Center, which is changing the business models of early care and education programs to save time, share costs, and increase quality
- $25,000 Daughters of Charity Foundation Award to Magnificent Potential, which creates unique, high-quality screen printed t-shirts, while providing employment and personal development to local high school students
- $25,000 Skandalaris Award to Code Red Education, which teaches 1st – 12th grade students computer science and computer coding in order to prep them for tech careers after graduation
- $5,000 student award to Teaching Engineering to St Louis Adolescents (TESLA), which empowers disadvantaged youth through dynamic after-clubs to expose them to various STEM principles through hands-on design challenges rooted in engineering fields that foster creativity, innovation, and critical thinking
The competition is open to both Washington University students and social entrepreneurs from the community, and several of the finalists included Washington University alumni. Magnificent Potential was founded by alumnus David Carroll (AM 2014) in his role as Chief Program Officer of Neighborhood Houses, a nonprofit serving the St. Louis community for over 100 years. TESLA was founded by WUSTL School of Engineering junior Nicholas Okafor and his team includes several Washington University undergraduate students.
The YouthBridge SEIC was founded ten years ago and since its inception has awarded more than $1.2 million to over 40 winning social ventures. Many past participants in the competition attended the awards ceremony, and three past winners provided updates on their venture as part of the program. All referred to both the value of the funding awards received as well as the connections made through the competition. The value of those connections was shown again this year, as finalist teams showed universal support and encouragement for each other regardless of who won funding awards.
YouthBridge Community Foundation CEO Michael Howard opened the program speaking of the ten-year partnership with Washington University which has planted the seeds of the developing ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in St. Louis. He said the competition is a great example of community collaboration, citing the involvement of the Lutheran and Daughters of Charity Foundations, as well as past sponsors of funding awards and in-kind accounting and legal services. Thanks to the competition, Howard said, “Organizations are feeding hungry children, providing job training, battling sex trafficking, providing clean water, access to healthy food, and supporting education initiatives. All the teams, past and current, are doing and will do great things.”
Emre Toker, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center, said “We are very grateful for the support that the YouthBridge Community Foundation has provided for the last ten years. Our students have the potential and the desire to address the world’s most pressing social problems. Along with our colleagues at the Brown School and at The Mission Center L3C we will continue to train the next group of social entrepreneurs on campus and in the community and look forward to the impact they will make.”
In other news from past YouthBridge SEIC winners:
2006 YouthBridge SEIC winner St. Louis ArtWorks will host a spring sale on Saturday, May 2, from 11AM – 2PM. For more info see their website at http://www.stlartworks.org/.
2011 YouthBridge SEIC winner Janji has launched their new Haiti “Run for Another” running shirts. Check out their website at http://runjanji.com/ and sign up to be the first to receive new product information every Wednesday.
2011 YouthBridge SEIC winner Perennial’s schedule of Creative-Reuse classes is at http://eepurl.com/bjrGV9.
2013 YouthBridge SEIC winner Independent Youth will host TrepStart Day on Monday, October 5, a one-day event where teens learn, lunch and launch into entrepreneurial thinking by interacting with successful teen entrepreneurs from around the US. Early registration opens May 1 – more info at http://independentyouth.org/.
2013 YouthBridge SEIC winner The Circus Harmony Flying Trapeze Center is back up and running under the train shed at historic St. Louis Union Station. They have classes every day except Monday. Take your friends and family for this safe fun activity and see how it feels to defy gravity! To book your flight, call 314.504.4298 or go to www.trapezestl.com.