New social ventures coming out of the University of Chicago are working to support emerging social entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, expedite the pre-trial preparation experience, and connect advocacy and service organizations with individual donors and charitable foundations.

Behind those enterprises are three recent University of Chicago graduates who earned 2020 Tarrson Social Venture Fellowships, along with funding to pursue their social ventures full time after graduation. This month, the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business announced winners of the fellowships, selecting students from Booth, the College, and the Harris School of Public Policy.

The Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship provides $25,000 in funding and mentoring to graduating university students and recent alumni who are committed to growing a startup that helps solve a social or environmental problem. The fellowships are supported by Ron Tarrson, ’72 (XP-31), and matching funds from John Edwardson, ’72.

To be eligible for the fellowship, applicants must be committed to working full time for their startups, which should be focused on social or environmental impact. To view past Tarrson Fellowship winners, click here.

Two of the 2020 fellows participated in the John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC), which has helped jumpstart more than 100 startups that have gone on to raise more than $35 million. The SNVC is the social impact track of the University of Chicago’s nationally ranked business launch program, the New Venture Challenge (NVC).

“Social entrepreneurs in our fourth cohort of Tarrson Fellows represent diverse ways to create impact here in Chicago and across the globe,” said Robert H. Gertner, Joel F. Gemunder Professor of Strategy and Finance at Chicago Booth and John Edwardson Faculty Director of the Rustandy Center. “In the midst of a global pandemic and economic crisis, finding innovative ways to address complex social and environmental challenges is more important than ever before. With the fellowship, these rising social impact leaders will get the support they need to continue their vital work.”

The 2020 Tarrson Fellows are:

Segun Fatudimu, MPP ’20, of Impact Toolbox

Segun, an Obama Foundation Scholar, graduated from the Harris School of Public Policy in June 2020. Impact Toolbox, which placed first in the 2020 SNVC, is a digital incubation platform that provides youths and emerging social entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to learn, network, and access seed funding to transform their ideas for social change into viable social ventures.

Devshi Mehrotra, AB ’19, of JusticeText

Devshi graduated from the College in June 2019. JusticeText is a digital platform specifically designed to help overburdened public defenders build a case and defend their clients by expediting the pre-trial preparation experience of reviewing relevant video evidence. The platform allows users to upload audiovisual evidence – from body camera footage to interrogation videos – generate an automated transcript, and edit, analyze and export the materials.

Alana Taube, ’20, of Where Good Grows 

Alana graduated from Booth in June 2020. Where Good Grows, a 2020 SNVC Phase II non-finalist and participant in the Polsky Accelerator Program, is an online platform that helps individual donors increase the sustained impact of their philanthropy by enabling them to connect with strategic philanthropy resources and advisors, empowering them to plan their giving objectives and develop strategies that are effective and personally meaningful.

To learn more about the Tarrson Social Venture Fellowship, visit the Rustandy Center’s website.